In the 2017 race for State Assembly in New Jersey’s 25th district, Republican incumbents Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris Township) and Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton) won re-election by an unusually narrow margin in a legislative that hasn’t voted for a Democrat for State Assembly since 1977.
In the same district, Democrat Lisa Bhimani, a first-time candidate, nearly topped six-term Republican State Sen. Anthony R. Bucco (R-Boonton). Bucco won 52%-48% and by a margin of 2,528 votes.
Carroll won by 2,475 votes and Bucco by 2,430 against Democrats Thomas Moran and Richard Corcoran. They won by a combined margin of 4.64%.
Now Bucco and his new running mate, Denville councilman Brian Bergen. seek to fend off a challenge from Bhimani and Chester Democratic Municipal Chair Darcy Draeger who hope to flip this district, after the Democrats flipped four congressional seats in New Jersey in 2018, including NJ-7 and NJ-11. Both of those districts cover the 25th.
In the 2016 Presidential election, Democrat Hillary Clinton carried LD25 by 18 votes or a margin of 0.02%. Clinton carried 2 municipalities that both Gov. Phil Murphy and U.S. Senator Bob Menendez failed to carry: Mountain Lakes and Randolph. She won Randolph by over 6%, and Mountain Lakes by over 12%. Clinton carried the two municipalities that had the most recorded votes, Morris and Randolph township, while Murphy and Menendez both lost Randolph.
In the 2017 gubernatorial election, Republican Kim Guadagno carried LD25 by 3,971 votes or a margin of 6.4%. Out of the three races that are being compared, Murphy performed the worst in LD25, losing it by 6.4% even though Menendez lost it by more overall votes. Murphy lost 2 towns that Clinton carried, Mountain Lakes, and Randolph, and 2 that Menendez and Clinton carried, Wharton and Boonton Town.
In the 2018 Senate election, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Hugin carried LD25 by 5,673 or a margin of 6.26%. Menendez was able to keep the Clinton gains in Wharton and Boonton, but unable to carry Randolph or Mountain Lakes. Menendez won ⅔ of the municipalities with the highest vote totals, winning Morris Township by 4.7%, but he lost Roxbury by 22.4%, and Randolph Township by 1.6%.
For a Democrat to carry this district, the minimum they must do is replicate the Clinton margins in Morris Township, Wharton, and Randolph. They would also have to keep up their margins in the smaller municipalities, and not under-perform Clinton in them. They would also have to keep their losses in some of the larger Republican towns such as Roxbury to 22% margin of defeat or less, like Clinton did.