’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the state
Not a campaign was stirring, even in LD8
The offices were chosen in D.C. with care,
In hopes that Kean Jr. soon would be there.
Results are all nestled with each county clerk
And trying to get them will make you go berserk.
Van Drew has his kerchief and Payne his bowtie
And all were tucked in for some winter shuteye.
But before you settle in for your long winter snooze,
I’ll tell you ’bout Jersey in 2022.
Phil Murphy began the year with a smile:
Same old governor, but all-new hairstyle.
With his win, Murphy became the first Dem to earn
four extra years since the late Brendan Byrne.
In the Senate, Saint Nick took over the helm,
Replacing Steve Sweeney as lord of the realm.
The Assembly remained under Coughlin’s command,
Cindy Lou Who Greenwald at his right hand.
Some new faces joined them, like trucker Ed Durr
Whose 3rd district upset caused quite the stir
Republicans, once cast out into the cold,
Won seats they hadn’t held since days of old.
Though lesser in numbers, Dems still forged ahead
On guns and abortion and letting gay couples wed.
Conservatives protested, but played little role –
Dems got the presents; Republicans, the coal.
But the focus this year was control of D.C.
Where Republican hopes were lit up like a tree.
New Jersey’s 12 House members were under duress
To win once again – in new districts, no less.
Albio Sires announced he’d retire
For mayor of West New York he’ll now aspire.
In the wings, a new face emerged for the job:
Menendez, Rob, son of Menendez, Bob.
The other eleven all stood their ground, unbowed
As many a primary drew quite a crowd.
The 7th district race drew Kean, Rizzo, Peterson, Flora –
Near as many people as lights on a menorah.
Kean won that primary, as did Menendez and Payne
And Chris Smith will return to D.C. yet again.
It was Kim versus Healey, Sherrill v. DeGroot
And a Gottheimer-Pallotta rematch, to boot.
The themes of the fall were abortion, inflation,
And all the other ills gripping the nation.
Just like Santa delivers gifts from his sleigh,
Attack ads were broadcast day after day.
Election Day came with a hush o’er the land,
Waiting anxiously to see where things would stand.
Would Republicans catch Dems asleep in their cap?
Or would it be a Blue Christmas thanks to the new map?
The battle of Toms went in Tom Kean’s favor;
Republicans celebrated the birth of a savior.
But Rudolph the Red Wave didn’t arrive
And most other Dems managed to survive.
Mikie, Josh, Andy put wins under their belt.
The dreidel landed on gimel; they get the gelt.
Dems lost the House, though, so now they’ll be
Frozen out in the minority.
Of course, this year wasn’t just elections;
N.J. politics goes in many directions.
In January, the state learned the name of Sean Caddle
His murder-for-hire scheme left many rattled.
George Gilmore made his comeback over in Ocean
Less than two years after his pardon – what a notion!
Then there’s the tragedy of K9 Ember,
Whose service in Gloucester we’ll all now remember.
Bribes in Perth Amboy sullied things from the start
And Trenton’s elections just fell apart.
Thousands of other stories, big and small,
Kept us intrigued through spring, summer, and fall.
Soon we’ll be talking of 2023,
’24, ’25, and to infinity.
We’ll discuss, speculate, opine, and yak:
Can Fulop win statewide? How about Jack?
But on these cold winter days, let’s all settle in
And wait for a while before the games begin.
So now hear me exclaim, to the left and the right:
“Happy Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year to all – and to all a good night!”