On the Ground, On Election Day – Early Take Aways from InsiderNJ

Downtown Vineland.

High turnout.

Republicans upbeat.

Democrats grim.

Well, at least South Jersey Dems will get wiped out in Cumberland and Gloucester, a North Jersey Dem shrugged, as he braced for his own local casualties. At least their longtime grip on the party will loosen even more, he added, in reference to the Norcross Machine’s collapse into the abyss going back to Mike Testa’s 2019 victory over Bob Andrzejczak.

“Looking on the bright side,” the source managed, with a ravaged grin.

The trouble was U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-3) could get ground up in the process, the same Democratic insider glumly reasoned, citing motivated Republicans in Monmouth and worrying about the mindset of voters in Hamilton, a newly acquired CD-3 battleground town.

If Kim looked bloodied and in a fight with GOP challenger Bob Healey, most insiders prepared for the political demise of U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski in CD-7. The newly drawn map gave the edge to Republican challenger Tom Kean – by about 17K votes.

The party could handle a 9-3 outcome, but 8-4 would look bad, weak.

Democrats had prepared, post redistricting, to jettison Malinowski – “Well, he did it to himself,” another party member reasoned.

But Kim had to win.

The map protected Kim.

He had to win.

This was the mindset of Democratic Party poohbahs heading sweatily down to the wire.

People hedged – at least on the Democratic side.

Republicans appeared almost universally prepared to shake off the effects of multiple losses.

The GOP kept hitting inflation, and late in the game added crime as a signature issue, in a bid for suburban women who evacuated Republican ranks in protest of Donald Trump and prepared to express their further dismay with party leadership over the Supreme Court’s overturning this past summer of Roe v. Wade.

Did it somewhat smack of desperation?

If it did, Democrats wailed internally over their own missed opportunities, finger pointing at one another over the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd; worried about losing the cops, splintering throughout private sector labor, and the party’s apparent failure to aggressively cohere Latino voters.

“We look old,” one insider groaned, specifically pointing to the triumvirate of Biden-Pelosi-Schumer, and bracing for the voters’ punishment as a consequence.

More later…

It was later and the self-repudiated mutterings continued.

Mikie Sherrill must be worried, said a source.

She’ll lose???

No, she won’t lose, the source said. But she spent a ton of money this cycle, did giant TV buy. She didn’t do that because she feels safe. She went down to zero. She sees something.

In Bergen, the Democrats worried in towns that had school board contests.

There’s that issue again.

Curriculum.

Places like Paramus.

They sweated Mahwah.

Republicans thumped their chests in Rahway.

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