State Sen. Kip Bateman thinks Somerset County Freeholder Mark Caliguire and former Montgomery Mayor Christine Madrid can oust Democratic incumbents in the 16th legislative district.
“I think they have a good chance. There’s 15,000 more Democrats, but I think there’s going to be some backlash on the Murphy administration,” Bateman said. “I think that one, traditionally, it’s a very low turnout when the Assembly’s at the top of the ticket, and I think there are enough people concerned about what’s going on in Trenton that they have a good chance.”
The two Republicans face Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick) and Roy Frieman (D-Hillsborough) in November.
The district has hosted some of the state’s closest elections in recent years.
When Zwicker won his seat in 2015, he did so with a margin of less than 100 votes.
Democratic margins broadened in 2017, when Bateman won re-election in the district — one of only two in the state with split representation — by a single point.
If the Republicans are to win, Bateman said, they need to focus on expanding their margins in smaller Republican towns in order to offset the swell of votes the incumbents are likely to get out of Demcoratic powerhouse towns like Princeton.
“It’d be nice if they could win their hometown of Montgomery, obviously, and they need to get the numbers out in Hillsborough and Branchburg and Hunterdon County because Princeton and South Brunswick are very difficult towns for them,” Bateman said. “But if they can hold their own, certainly in Hillsborough, Branchburg, Readington township, Raritan Township and keep it close in Montgomery, they have a chance.”