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Republican congressional candidate Robert Trugman

39 years later, Trugman makes second bid for Congress

NJ-7 candidate ran against Joe Minish in 1980

By David Wildstein, October 14 2019 3:40 pm

Summit businessman Robert Trugman has entered the race for the Republican nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 7th district, making his second bid for the House in 39 years.

Trugman initially sough the GOP nod to run against Rep. Joe Minish in the 11th district in 1980, but ran as an independent when Essex County Republicans decided to back Robert A. Davis, the former county Young Republican Chairman, instead.

Minish beat Davis by a 63%-34% margin.  Trugman finished fourth in a field of five candidates with 1,630 votes (0.97%), running 104,525 votes behind Minish.

Ronald Reagan carried the district by a 50%-40% margin over Jimmy Carter that year – a sign of Minish’s electoral strength in a district drawn to tilt Democratic after the 1970 census.

Trugman is the son of the late Jack Trugman, a prominent Newark attorney who nearly won a seat on the Newark City Commission in 1954.

The method used by Newark City Clerk Harry Reichenstein to calculate the number of votes needed to avoid a runoff went all the way to the New Jersey Supreme Court, which upheld the decision to calculate the magic number as 50% of the total votes cast.  A state Appellate Court had ruled that Reichenstein should have used the total number of voters.

The decision was memorable to some because of what Chief Justice Joseph Weintraub said: “It isn’t the clearest statute, is it?”

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