The New Jersey Globe is projecting that State Sen.-elect Vince Polistina (R-Egg Harbor), former Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, and former Deputy Attorney General Claire Swift – all Republicans – have won election to the 2nd legislative district.
Polistina defeated Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Northfield) to retain the Senate seat for his party, while Guardian and Swift beat Assemblyman John Armato (D-Buena Vista) and Atlantic County Commissioner Caren Fitzpatrick to flip both seats from Democratic to Republican.
The 2nd legislative district, which covers most of Atlantic County, has perennially been among the state’s most competitive, and hosts hotly contested elections nearly every cycle.
In 2017, the last time all three seats were on the ballot, two seats flipped – in opposite directions. Then-Assemblyman Chris Brown (R-Ventnor) beat Democratic State Sen. Colin Bell (D-Margate) to flip the district’s Senate seat, but Armato won Brown’s open Assembly seat.
This year, both parties campaigned hard to keep their own seats and flip the others. Millions of dollars were spent – mostly by Democrats, with a huge boost from the New Jersey Education Association – and each party ran attack ads against one another.
The lone poll of the race, from Stockton University, put Mazzeo up over Polistina 48-41% and showed all four Assembly candidates locked in a near-tie, albeit with Fitzpatrick narrowly in the lead.
An added wrinkle in the contest has been Polistina’s incumbency status. After Brown resigned to join the Murphy administration, Polistina was chosen as his successor at a Republican convention, but he still hasn’t been seated because the legislature hasn’t come back into session.
With the looming arrival of the lame duck session, Polistina’s wait is finally over – and he’ll have at least another two years in office to look forward to.
Final 2nd district results:
Polistina 51.9% // Mazzeo 48.1%
Swift 26.8%, Guardian 26.7% // Armato 23.7%, Fitzpatrick 22.9%