Even Wednesday’s haze can’t obscure some conclusions from Tuesday’s primary.
People won, people lost, but some won and lost more than others did.
Laura Ali, the Morris County Republican chair.
Two of the most competitive primaries in the state touched Morris – legislative races in LD-24 and 26. The candidates backed by Ali’s committee won them all, easier than expected, in fact. Ditto for a contested county commissioner race. “It’s a great time to be a Morris County Republican,” is how Ali likes to put it.
Richard Codey, the veteran state senator and former governor. Thrown into the same district by the new legislative map as long-time colleague Nia Gill, Codey easily prevailed.
The Hudson County Democratic machine: A year or so ago, Hudson Democrats were confronted with the same dilemma we saw with Codey and Gill. Two veteran senators, Brian Stack and Nick Sacco, were put in the same district. But there was no primary fight here. Sacco gave up his seat for Stack. Peace reigned.
Jack DeGroot: A few months ago, he was a college student in New Hampshire and an intern for Gov. Chris Sununu. Now, the 24-year-old has just won the Republican nomination for freeholder in Sussex County, defeating a veteran incumbent. Sussex Republicans do not have a line.
Todd Christie: That’s not a typo. The brother of the former governor and now presidential candidate won a seat on the Morris County Republican Committee from his hometown of Mendham Township. Is there a political dynasty afoot?
Bill Spadea: The radio host and possible GOP gubernatorial candidate strongly supported a number of candidates challenging the Republican establishment. Many of them lost. See LD-24 and 26. That prompted state Sen. Jon Bramnick to call Spadea “some loudmouth on the radio” at a Republican victory celebration. Spadea responded this morning on his radio show, calling Bramnick a “bitter guy” and saying the primary winners should welcome the losers back into the fold.
Beth Sawyer: Elected to the state Assembly from LD-3 in south Jersey in 2021, she thought she could topple Sen. Ed Durr in the primary. Durr, who is known as Ed the Trucker, is quite the conservative folk hero. He won easily. Talk about a miscalculation.
Essex County: Or rather, voter turnout; less than 10 percent countywide unofficially. It was worse in urban areas such as Newark. This is bad for democracy and it could be bad for Democrats going forward, although let’s not overlook the fact that Dems are doing much better in the suburbs these days than they did 20 years ago.
Mo Hill: The incumbent mayor of Toms River was defeated in the Republican primary. It is always a kick in the gut for an office holder to be turned aside by his own party.
Dover Disarray: A group together four years ago split up and each ran their own mayoral candidate. The result was no surprise. The third candidate, James Dodd, who lost reelection in 2019, won the Democratic primary with a bit more than 50 percent of the vote.