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Rep. Andy Kim. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Kim defeats Healey in 3rd congressional district

Despite glitch in Mercer County preventing quick vote tabulation, Kim has clearly done well enough to win

By Joey Fox, November 09 2022 12:11 am

The New Jersey Globe projects that Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) has won re-election, defeating Republican Bob Healey in the 3rd congressional district.

As of 12:11 a.m. and with an estimated 77% of votes reported, Kim leads Healey by a margin of 55%-44%. That’s not including a large number of votes from Mercer County, which had a glitch that prevented votes from being tabulated as normal.

Even without the votes from Mercer, the margins in Burlington and Monmouth Counties are clearly enough to guarantee Kim re-election.

In the closing weeks of the campaign, Healey and Republicans had seemed to close the gap against Kim, who was initially strongly favored for re-election, and make the 3rd district into a highly competitive race. But if the final margin is similar to what it is now, that confidence looks like it may have just been a mirage.

Kim was among the four Democrats who flipped New Jersey House seats in 2018, beating Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-Toms River) in the state’s closest race that cycle. Kim was at first given little chance of winning in a seat that had voted for Donald Trump by six points, but he proved to be a dogged campaigner and an able fundraiser.

The congressman won re-election in 2020 by an impressive eight-point margin, and shortly afterwards went viral for quietly cleaning up the U.S. Capitol after the January 6 attack. 

For this year’s election, Kim’s district got a dramatic makeover. Democratic mapmakers on the Congressional Redistricting Commission drew Ocean County out of the district entirely – upending nearly 40 years of precedent – and replaced it with parts of Mercer and Monmouth Counties.

The new lines would have given Joe Biden a 14-point win in the district and Gov. Phil Murphy a two-point win, a major boost for Kim (though they also meant he’s had to spend the last year introducing himself to more than 300,000 new would-be constituents).

Despite the tough district lines, Healey forged ahead with his campaign. A punk rocker in his early days, Healey took the reins of Viking Yachts after his father stepped down, and his first-ever political campaign this year turned the 3rd district into what seemed to be a close race

Critical to Healey’s competitiveness was the fact that his family poured millions of their own money to finance his campaign. Healey personally gave his campaign $2.2 million, and a super PAC called Garden State Advance spent another $3.2 million to aid him, most of it coming from his mom.

That kind of funding meant that, unlike other New Jersey Republicans running in Democratic-leaning districts, Healey was able to spread his message far and wide. But Kim raised $6.5 million of his own, so he was far from drowned out.

Healey’s campaign focused doggedly on a few key issues, particularly inflation, crime, and education, arguing that Kim and Democrats in Washington had failed the 3rd district. Kim’s own messaging hit Healey on abortion and Healey’s family wealth while promoting the congressman as a straightforward, hardworking legislator.

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