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Chris Christie campaigns for governor in Hamilton Township in June 2009. (Photo: Christie for Governor.)

Is anybody betting on more Republicans voting than Democrat on Tuesday?

The last gubernatorial primary with more GOP voters than Democrats was in 2009

By David Wildstein, June 06 2021 10:13 pm

It’ s been twelve years since Republicans outnumbered Democrats in statewide voter turnout in a New Jersey primary, and since then the registration gap has jumped from 727,029 more Democrats to a blue state advantage of 1,089,844.

As the state continues to become more Democratic, the 2021 primary might be the last time a higher turnout among Republicans might be possible.   There is a contested Republican gubernatorial primary with a Democratic governor running unopposed, and five of the seven closely-watched legislative primaries are on the Republican side.

The total Republican turnout in 2017 was 258,880, 21.4% of the total number of voters eligible to vote in the Republican primary.

As of Friday afternoon, mail-in ballots from 47,166 GOP primary voters had been returned to county election officials – about 3.2% of the total number of registered Republicans statewide.

A match of the turnout four years ago would a little under 315,000 votes.

Turnout in the 2013 GOP primary, when Gov. Chris Christie faced a primary challenge from former Atlantic County Freeholder Seth Grossman, turnout was at just 22.7% %.  That was down from 33.2% in 2009, 36.5% in 2005, and 40.7% in 2001.

Gov. Phil Murphy avoided a primary fight when the Democratic State Committee counsel, Raj Parikh, knocked two challengers off the ballot.  One of them, shadowy perennial candidate Lisa McCormick, was tossed after a judge found none of her nominating petition signatures to be valid.  The matter was referred to the state Attorney General for review, but Gurbir Grewal has not yet announced the outcome of that investigation.

Democrats have not had an uncontested gubernatorial primary since 1993, when Gov. Jim Florio sought a second term.  Two Republican governors, Tom Kean in 1985 and Christine Todd Whitman in 1997, ran without primary opposition.

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