There is no place in New Jersey where Republicans are better situated to pick up legislative seats in the 2019 mid-term elections than in the 1st district, which includes Cape May and parts of Cumberland and Atlantic.
In 2017, then-Assemblyman (now Senator) Bob Andrzejczak (D-Middle) and Assemblyman Bruce Land (D-Millville) won re-election in this district by a combined vote share of 60.9% of the votes cast, over Republicans James Sauro, and Robert Campbell. Meanwhile, Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis), won by a margin of 30.8% over Republican Mary Gruccio in his State Senate re-election bid.
Van Drew ran for Congress in New Jersey’s 2nd district in 2018, and Andrzejczak was appointed to replace him in the Senate. He faces voters in a special election alongside assembly races this fall. Andrzejczak is being challenged by Cumberland County GOP Chairman Mike Testa.
Land is seeking re-election along with Matthew Milam (D-Vineland), who returned to the Assembly seat he held from 2008 to 2013 this year by filling Andrzejczak’s vacancy. They are facing off against Republicans Erik Simonsen and Antwan McClellan.
In the 2016 presidential election, Republican Donald Trump carried this district by 8,616 votes, or a 9.28% margin over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump won all but six of this district’s municipalities in 2016.
In Vineland, which is the most populous municipality in the district, which he lost by 16.26%. However, he was able to make up for losses in this municipality by winning the combined vote share of the six municipalities with the most votes cast, which account for over 70% of the districts vote, by a 6% margin. The municipalities were Ocean City, Upper, Middle, Millville, Lower, and Vineland City.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy carried this district by 216 votes, or a 0.4% margin over Republican Kim Guadagno in 2017.
Murphy won three municipalities that went for both Trump in 2016 and Hugin in 2018, winning Wildwood by 6%, Commercial by 4.5%, and Greenwich by 4.48%. He also ran up the margins in the towns that Clinton won, doing on average 13% better in the towns that they both won.
Murphy won two-sevenths of the municipalities that cast more than 2,000 votes, winning the largest one, Vineland by 22.24% and winning Millville by 13.38%. Guadagno won the other 5 by an average of 7.72% which was not enough to overcome Phil Murphy’s impressive performance in GOP terrain.
In the 2018 U.S. Senate race, Republican Bob Hugin carried this district by 11,179 votes, or a margin of 15.16% over Democratic incumbent Bob Menendez. Bob Hugin performed the best out of the last three statewide Republicans, winning the district by nearly 6% more than Donald Trump did, and on average swinging towns 16% in his favor from Guadagno’s 2017 performance.
Menendez did not do well in the more populated municipalities in the district, only winning 1/7 of the districts with more than 2,000 votes cast, Vineland City, which he won by slightly over 10%. Meanwhile Hugin won the other 6 by an average of 28.75% which helped contribute to his large margin of victory.
For the Republicans to flip this district they are going to need to keep the margin down in Vineland – Testa’s home town — and win Ocean City, Upper, Middle, Millville, and Lower by sizable margins, as the combined vote share for these towns make up a vast majority of the districts voting base. The GOP Candidate also will need to keep up the margins in the smaller municipalities that they have continuously carried for the past three elections, as they paid out the margins from the more populated regions.