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Electors pledged to Abraham Lincoln won ten New Jersey counties in the 1860 presidential election

How Abraham Lincoln won New Jersey

Lincoln took 10 New Jersey counties in 1860

By David Wildstein, February 20 2023 12:07 am

Abraham Lincoln won four electoral votes in New Jersey in 1860, with three electors pledged to a fusion ticket that would back one of three Democrats who had the best shot at winning after Election Day.

There was no public vote on Lincoln.  Instead the candidates for the Electoral College ran on their own.  Seven were pledged to Lincoln, three to Northern Democrat Stephen Douglas, two for Southern Democrat John Breckenridge, and two for another Democrat, John Bell.

Lincoln’s electors won 49.3% of  the statewide vote, running 1,568 votes behind the Demcoratic fusion ticket.

The New Jersey Globe asked the New Jersey State Library for a county-by-county breakdown of how the 1860 presidential election went.

Since each of fourteen elector candidates – there were scattered votes for an additional 37 elector candidates – had votes cast for him, the Globe took an average vote for each slate of seven.

Lincoln won ten counties:

Atlantic (60%)
Burlington (58%)
Cape May (60%)
Cumberland (68%)
Gloucester (57%)
Mercer (51%)
Morris (54%)
Ocean (67%)
Passaic (54%)
Salem (61%)

The Democratic Fusion Ticket won eleven counties; the percentages listed belong to the Lincoln electors:

Bergen (41%)
Camden (49%)
Essex (48%)
Hudson (41%)
Hunterdon (43%)
Middlesex (45%)
Monmouth (42%)
Somerset (46%)
Sussex (41%)
Union (44%)
Warren (46%)

In House races that year, freshman Republican incumbents John Nixon (R-Bridgeton) and John Stratton (R-Mount Holly) were re-elected to second terms.

Two Democratic congressmen did not seek re-election and Democrats William Steele (D-Somerville) and George Cobb (D-Morristown) held those seats.

The fifth seat was an upset.

Rep. William Pennington (R-Newark), the incumbent Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, lost his bid for re-election.  Former New Jersey Assembly Speaker Nehemiah Perry (D-Newark) defeated him by just 400 votes.

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