To paraphrase the late Everett McKinley Dirksen, a couple of thousand votes here and few thousand there, and suddenly you’re talking about some real numbers.
The big deal about Albio Sires opening a campaign headquarters in his hometown of West New York is that he’s trying to build up a huge plurality for his friend Bob Menendez.
West New York has about 22,000 voters and Democrats have a 5-1 voter registration edge. Hillary Clinton won 77% there in 2016, and Phil Murphy got 84% in 2017.
The challenge for a Democrat is not their win percentage, but the total number of votes West New York produces. Clinton got 10,177 votes two years ago, and while Murphy polled seven percentage points better, he received 5,493 less votes. Turnout in the presidential year was 64%, but was just 28% in the gubernatorial election and 29% in the 2014 mid-terms.
Sires’ job is to turn out voters, and he thinks with a lot of work, he can get several thousand more votes for Menendez than the usual amount in a mid-term. Cory Booker received 4,017 votes in Union City in 2014, but in 2006, the last U.S. Senate seat filled in a mid-term election, Menendez won 6,377 votes.
Democrats won’t say exactly what their vote goals are in West New York, but it’s realistic to think Sires would like to get Menendez’s number up to about 7,500 – that’s doable now that the leaders of both factions of the West New York Democrats – Sires and Mayor Felix Roque – are strongly behind the Democratic Senator’s re-election.