Republicans are holding their own against Democrats in returned vote-by-mail ballots in the competitive 1st and 8th district legislative races, while Democrats continue to dominate VBM balloting in the 21st and 25th districts.
As of this morning, 5,915 VBM ballots have been cast in the 1st district, where Cumberland County GOP Chairman Michael Testa, Jr. faces State Sen. Bob Andrzejczak (D-Middle) in the state’s only upper house race.
Of the mail-in ballots cast, 2,553 (43%) came from Democrats and 2,469 (42%) from Republicans.
A total of 13,939 VBM ballots were mailed out in the Cape May and Cumberland-based district.
While Democrats make up 28.4% of the electorate, they comprise 38.4% of the VBM ballots mailed. Republicans are 30.5% of the total voters and 36.2% of the VBM universe.
Unaffiliated voters – commonly referred to as Independents – make up 39.6% of the District 1 registered voters but just 25.1% of the voters who received VBM ballots.
Nearly half of Democrats (47.7%) in the VBM universe have already voted, while 48.9% of the Republicans have sent their ballots in.
Republican are also seeking to flip two Assembly seats in the 1st district, where incumbents Bruce Land (D-Vineland) and Matthew Milam (D-Vineland) face Lower Township Mayor Erik Simonsen and Ocean City Councilman Antwan McClellan.
A new state law passed last year and updated in August automatically mailed ballots to any voters who cast VBM votes in 2016, 2017 or 2018 unless they specifically opted out.
In District 8, 6,705 vote-by-mail ballots have been cast in a hugely competitive race for two Republican-held State Assembly seats. Of the 17,955 VBM ballots mailed, 37.3% have already been returned.
Incumbent Ryan Peters (R-Hainesport) and former Burlington Sheriff Jean Stanfield face Democrats Gina LaPlaca, a former Assembly staffer, and Evesham attorney Mark Natale in a race for the Burlington County-based seat, which also includes parts of Atlantic and Camden counties.
Of the ballots cast so far, 3,019 (45%) came from Democrats and 2,808 (41.9%) came from Republicans. Unaffiliated voters have returned 862 ballots (12.9%).
Democrats outnumber Republicans in the district, 32.1%-27.9%. On VBM ballots mailed, 40.5% are Democrats and 34.9% are Republicans.
So far, 41.4% of the Democrats and 44.7% of Republicans receiving VBM ballots have returned them. Just 19.9% of Unaffiliateds have cast their mail-in ballots.
Democrats continue to do well among vote-by-mail ballots in the 21st district State Assembly race, where incumbents Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) and Nancy Munoz (R-Summit) face Democrats Lisa Mandelblatt and Stacey Gunderman.
So far, 5,136 mail-in ballots have been cast – 672 more since the New Jersey Globe first reported VBM numbers on Monday. Slightly more than one-quarter of the total mail-in ballots sent out by county clerks (25.5%) have been returned.
Of those returned ballots, 48.1% came from registered Democrats and 33.9% from registered Republicans.
Democrats have returned 31.2% of their VBM ballots, while Republicans have sent back 32.3%. Just 14.6% of Unaffiliated voters that received mail-in ballots have returned them.
While Democrats make up 31% of the electorate in the 21st district, they are 42% of the VBM voter pool. Republicans registration is at 28% of the district, but just 27% of the mail-in ballot universe.
More Democratic VBM ballots have been cast in the last three days in the 21st district than the entire number of mail-in ballots cast in District 29, the state’s most heavily-Democratic legislative district.
The hotly-contested 25th district Assembly race, Democrats continue to see heartening news in vote-by-mail numbers with 4,580 votes already cast.
Of the ballots returned as of Wednesday morning, 47.8% have come from registered Democrats and 38.9% from registered Republicans.
In total, 27.8% of all VBM ballots have already been cast.
Democrats are trying to flip two Assembly seats the Republicans have held since 1979.
Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton) will take his seat in the State Senate later today but will continue his bid for re-election to a State Assembly seat he has no intention of accepting.
Bucco and his running mate, Denville Councilman Brian Bergen, are being challenged by Lisa Bhimani, a physician, and Darcy Draeger, a full-time farmer.
Democrats have sent back 32.2% of the VBM ballots mailed, while Republicans have cast 32.4%. Only 16.3% of Unaffiliated voters have returned their mail-in ballots.
Republicans make up 33.9% of registered voters in the district and are 33.6% of the VBM universe. Democrats are 29% of electorate, but 39.4% of voters requesting mail-in ballots.