Both front runners won primaries in the closely watched race for Rodney Frelinghuysen’s open 11th district House seat.
Mikie Sherrill, the former Navy helicopter pilot and federal prosecutor who has amazed a sizeable warchest and charmed national and local Democrats, won 77% of the vote in the Democratic primary. She will face Jay Webber, a conservative five-term Assemblyman and former Republican State Chairman, who won the Republican primary by a solid nine-point margin.
Webber defeated self-funding businessman Peter DeNeufville by a 40%-31% margin and a plurality of 3,912 votes.
Antony Ghee, a banker and Army Reserve major who had the endorsement of the Essex and Passaic Republican organizations, finished third with 22%. Patrick Allocco won 4% and Martin Hewitt won 3%.
Webber won Morris County by 3,522 votes over DeNeufville, 46%-33%. Ghee finished third with 11%.
Passaic County gave Ghee a 54% win, followed by Webber (27%) and DeNeufville (17%). Ghee came out of Passaic with 1,722-vote margin over Webber. Essex County produced a 37%-31% win for Ghee over DeNeufville, with Webber finishing third with 29%. Ghee’s margin was 360 votes over DeNeufville and 474 ahead of Webber.
DeNeufville carried Sussex County by 92 votes over Webber, 38%-36%, with Ghee (17%) trailing Webber by 669 votes.
Sherill won the Democratic nomination by 28,804 votes over Tamara Harris, 77%-15%. College professor Mark Washburne finished third, 286 votes ahead of scientist Alison Heslin – both were at 3%. Mitchell Cobert, a former deputy state attorney general, finished last with 2%.
Sherrill beat Harris 82%-13% in Essex County, 76%-15% in Morris County, 78%-13% in Passaic County, and 56%-24% in Sussex County.
Democratic turnout exceeded Republican turnout in the 11th, something that has not happened since the early 1980’s.