Westfield was a solidly Republican town for more than a century, but it’s become a Democratic-leaning swing town in recent years.
Bramnick finished second in Westfield when he ran for re-election in 2017, finishing 222 votes behind Democrat Lacey Cotter Rzeszowski. Munoz came in fourth and trailed Bramnick by 538 votes.
Rzeszowski came within one percentage point of ousting Munoz two years ago.
This was the first time since joining the Assembly in 2003 that Bramnick was not the top-vote getter in Westfield, and the first time Munoz lost the town.
Another Westfield Republican, Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr., carried Westfield by 160 votes (50.7%) against Democrat Jill LaZare. Kean ran 154 votes ahead of Bramnick.
Kean is challenging freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) next year and keeping suburban Union County municipalities like Westfield close is a critical component to his bid to flip New Jersey’s 7th district from blue to red.
In 2018, Malinowski carried Westfield with 63.4% against five-term incumbent Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township). That represented a 13-point increase over 2016, when Lance lost Westfield by 94 votes, and an 18-point swing from Lance’s 54% win in 2014.
Westfield has not supported a Republican presidential candidate since George H.W. Bush in 1992. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won Westfield with 63% of the vote, scoring a 4,130-vote plurality over Donald Trump.
The town went for Bob Menendez (58.7%), in 2018, Phil Murphy (56.6%) in 2017, and Cory Booker (53.4%) in 2014.
Westfield has a Democratic mayor, and Democrats have a 5-4 majority on the Town Council. All four Republican council seats are up for re-election this year and two of the incumbents are not seeking re-election.