Democrat Bob Menendez won a decisive 11-point victory over Republican Bob Hugin in the race for New Jersey’s U.S. Senate seat, with Democrats picking up at least three House seats and scoring key local victories.
Democrat Tom Malinowski ousted Rep. Leonard Lance in the 7th district, while Democrats Jeff Van Drew and Mikie Sherrill flipped open seats of 12-term Republican congressmen who did not seek re-election.
A fourth seat remains too close to call: Rep. Tom MacArthur holds a narrow 2,315-vote lead over Democrat Andy Kim in the 3rd district, with an estimated 16,000 vote-by-mail ballots still uncounted. The race could take days –or weeks – to be decided.
The election appears to reflect New Jersey’s considerable opposition to Donald Trump, whose presidency was a common theme of most of the state’s campaigns.
Democrats won control of the Burlington County freeholder board, but lost control in Salem County. Democrats won two seats on the Somerset County Board of Freeholders – their first wins since 1979 – and added county clerks in Burlington and Passaic.
In Atlantic County, a Republican freeholder leads the voting but will need to wait for vote-by-mail and provisional ballots before the race is decided.
A bid by Democrats to score their first victory in Morris County in 45 years came up short.
With 99% of the vote counted, Menendez won a third term by a 53%-44% margin over Hugin, winning by 253,148 votes.
The lopsided victory over Hugin came after one of the nastiest statewide races in New Jersey history. Hugin pumped about $36 million of his own money into mostly negative TV ads attacking Menendez.
Republican Christopher Smith was re-elected to a 20th term in Congress, defeating Democrat Josh Welle by a 13-point margin. Smith’s 156,271 votes were the most of any New Jersey House candidate of either party.
Democrat Josh Gottheimer won a second term in Congress, scoring a closer-than-expected 55%-44% win over Republican John McCann, a former Cresskill councilman.
Van Drew defeated Republican Seth Grossman, a former Atlantic County freeholder and unabashed supporter of Trump, by a narrow 52%-46% margin in a race that sometimes seemed dominated by racist comments made by the Republican candidate. Van Drew will succeed 2nd district Republican Frank LoBiondo, who did not seek re-election.
A former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot and federal prosecutor, Sherrill is now headed to Congress representing the 11th district, which has had a Republican congressman for the last 34 years. She succeeds House Appropriations Committee chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, who unexpectedly dropped his re-election campaign last January rather than chance ending his career with a loss.
Sherill defeated five-term Republican assemblyman Jay Webber by 13-points, 56%-43%.
Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo broke his own record, wining a fifth term with 81% of the vote. Bergen County Executive James Tedesco won a solid victory in his bid for a second term, and Democrat Anthony Cureton was elected Bergen County Sheriff.