Republican Rik Mehta has set the record for the most votes ever received by a Republican statewide candidate in New Jersey after he passed Clifford P. Case on Monday.
Mehta is currently at 1,745,013 votes statewide, with more ballots still being counted. That’s 1,159 more votes than Case received in 1972, when he won re-election to a fourth term in the U.S. Senate.
That means the all-time top Republican vote-getter in New Jersey is a non-white candidate.
The winner of the 2020 New Jersey Senate race, Democratic incumbent Cory Booker, has set the record for the most statewide votes ever received in his home state. Booker is currently at 2,414,117 and leads Mehta, 57%-41%.
Mehta leads Booker in seven counties: Monmouth, Ocean, Warren, Sussex, Hunterdon, Cape May and Salem. He trails President Donald Trump in New Jersey by just 55,859 votes, or just two-tenths of one percent.
The previous GOP record was set by Case when he defeated former Rep. Paul J. Krebs (D-Livingston) by 780,281 votes, 62.5% to 34.5%. That same year, President Richard M. Nixon carried New Jersey by 743,291 votes, 61.6% to 36.8%, against Democrat George McGovern.
Nixon and Case swept all 21 New Jersey counties.
Booker eclipsed the record of 1,987,680 votes set by U.S. Senator Bob Menendez in 2012.
Menendez held the title for eight years after overtaking Bill Bradley by 1,036 votes. Bradley received 1,986,644 votes in 1984 when he won a second term in the Senate.
Fourth place on the Democratic list is Frank Lautenberg, who received 1,951,217 votes in 2008, followed by Menendez (1,711,654 in 2018), Harrison Williams (1,681,140 in 1976 and 1,677,515 in 1964), Lautenberg in 1988 (1,599,905 in 1988), Bob Torricelli (1,519,328 in 1996), and Jon Corzine (1,511,237 in 2000).
On the Republican side, Mehta has already passed other statewide candidates to clinch at least second place.
That slot had been held by Dick Zimmer, who received 1,461,025 in is 2008 Senate bid against Lautenberg.
Behind Zimmer: Case (1,483,832 in 1960); Bob Franks (1,420,266 in 2000); William Cahill (1,411,905 in 1969); Thomas H. Kean (1,372,937 in 1985); Bob Hugin, (1,356,355 in 2081); Joe Kyrillos (1,329,534 in 2012); Chris Christie (1,278,932 in 2013); Christine Todd Whitman (1,236,124 in 1993); Pete Dawkins (1,249,937 in 1988); and Zimmer again (1,227,81 in 1996).