Phil Murphy for Governor

NJ House Races: Incumbency and Money

Re-apportionment brought changes in each congressional district and reduced our delegation from 13 to 12 members. All incumbents won their races. In the two races without an incumbent (CD 9 and 10) Democrats won in very blue territory. Thus unsurprisingly 6 Republicans and 6 Democrats will form the new NJ Congressional delegation. Incumbency plays such a dominant role in our gerrymandered districts that many challengers were able to raised little money, and a few made meager efforts to succeed.  (All race reports are from POLITICO.) (All financial reports are from the FEC.)

CD 1 In spite of allegations of ethical violations, incumbent Democrat Rob Andrews won handily by 67.9% against Republican Greg Horton 30.3% who reported only $12,000 in campaign contributions.

CD 2 Ten-term incumbent Republican Frank LoBiondo won more closely with 57.9% against Democrat Cassandra Shober 40.1% who raised only $55,000.

CD 3 This was the closest race with incumbent Republican Jon Runyan winning 53.5% against  Democrat Shelley Adler 45.1% in a Republican-favored district. Each raised large sums and had SuperPAC expenditures issued in support of and opposition to them.

CD 4 Long-time Republican incumbent Chris Smith with 67.9% beat Democrat Brian Froelich 31.0% who raised $80,000.  

CD 5  Incumbent seriously conservative Republican Scott Garrett won with 154,000 votes (55.5%) against Democrat Adam Gussen with 117,000 votes (42.5%). Bergen voters represent the vast majority of CD 5 and voted 193,000 for Obama and 154,000 for Romney. There is no breakdown available by county for CD 5. However, while the vote for Garret was about the same in CD 5 as the vote for Romney  in Bergen, there were 76,000 more votes for Obama in Bergen than there were for Gussen in CD 5. What this suggests is that many individuals who voted in Bergen for Obama failed to vote for Gussen in CD 5. Gussen reported no receipts in his FEC filing, but a group called Gussen for Congress reported donation receipts from individuals of $30,000 in a section of the FEC report reserved for donations from committees (not individuals.) It appears the candidate reported his receipts under an incorrect category. Gussen seems to have entered campaign mode only about six weeks before election.

CD 6 Democrat incumbent Frank Pallone with 63.3% trounced Republican Tea Party candidate Anna Little 35.3%.

CD 7 Former State legislator Republican Leonard Lance won with a more narrow victory of 57.7% over Assemblyman Chivukula 39.6%. Both were well funded. The DCCC recognized Chivukula by naming this “a new emerging race.”

CD 8 Democrat incumbent Albio Sires won with a high 78.1% against a Republican with 19% who reported no expenditures to the FEC.

CD 9 Sheldon Adelson who infused $1 million of SuperPAC money in support of Republican challenger Shmuley Boteach should feel embarrassed. Former CD 8 incumbent Bill Pascrell won a whopping 73.6% to 25.4%.

CD 10 Following the death of long-time Democrat incumbent Donald Payne and the succeeding heated primary, Don Payne, Jr., a councilman and freeholder, emerged as the Democratic candidate. He won a two-month special election by 95 points and the regular 2-year term election by 76 points against virtually non-existent opponents. He has big shoes to fill.

CD 11 Family political dynasty member and Republican incumbent Rodney Frelinghusen won with 59.3% against Democrat John Arvanites 39.6% who raised $92,000.

CD 12 Scientist and Jeopardy winner Democrat incumbent Rush Holt won with 68.8% against Eric Beck 29.9% who raised a more respectable $123,000 against an awesome incumbent.  

Comments (10)

  1. deciminyan

    Two years ago, I watched with intense shock and disappointment as John Adler delivered his concession speech on election night. And I felt particularly sad for his four boys who, along with Shelley, stood justifiably proud at their father’s accomplishments.

    Little did I know that the disappointment would be intensified two years later, when Shelley and the boys stood on the same stage, without John, to once again concede to an ill-qualified tool of the GOP establishment.

    Shelley Adler’s concession was dignified and heartfelt. She was not the only one who had to push back tears in the room. Thank you, Shelley, for putting up a good fight. And best wishes to you and your family.





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  2. Nick Lento

    …there had been a better outreach to the young people, new voters and minorities who came out to vote for Obama.

    Many of those aren’t party line or party loyalty types…..had Jason Castle been the nominee I suspect he would have won all the votes Gussen won, by default, and earned many many thousands more.

    >>>”CD 5  Incumbent seriously conservative Republican Scott Garrett won with 154,000 votes (55.5%) against Democrat Adam Gussen with 117,000 votes (42.5%). Bergen voters represent the vast majority of CD 5 and voted 193,000 for Obama and 154,000 for Romney. There is no breakdown available by county for CD 5. However, while the vote for Garret was about the same in CD 5 as the vote for Romney  in Bergen, there were 76,000 more votes for Obama in Bergen than there were for Gussen in CD 5. What this suggests is that many individuals who voted in Bergen for Obama failed to vote for Gussen in CD 5. Gussen reported no receipts in his FEC filing, but a group called Gussen for Congress reported donation receipts from individuals of $30,000 in a section of the FEC report reserved for donations from committees (not individuals.) It appears the candidate reported his receipts under an incorrect category. Gussen seems to have entered campaign mode only about six weeks before election.”<<<

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  3. Bill Orr (Post author)

    Politicker NJ’s article yesterday on the House races had the headline: “Congressional Map Wins the Day.” It’s a sad commentary for democracy when a small committee creates a map that pre-ordains the outcome of twelve House races. Incumbents had vast sums of money, safe districts, and numerous other advantages.  Against such odds, challengers could raise little money and some surrendered to the futility of their efforts. Maps should not determine election results. People should determine election results.  

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  4. carolh

    to the popular candidate himself, but also his incredible campaign staff.  Dave Parano is the most amazing campaign manager I have ever met. I was fortunate to have him helping me when I ran for Freeholder.  He knows the opposition better than they know themselves and he is a tireless, cheerful warrior anyone would gladly march into battle with.  Even Sheldon Adelson didn’t stand a chance against this well – organized battle tested campaign manager.  Congratulations to both Congressman Pascrell, AND his incredible staff led by the indomitable Dave Parano.  

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  5. 12mileseastofTrenton

    Money, name recognition, a Democratic landslide, might very well have carried Rothman to victory.

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  6. Erik Preuss

    I agree that Garrett can be defeated. Gussen spent $30,000 and somehow got 42% of the vote. That being said, I’m not sure Jason Castle could have won, even though he was certainly a better candidate than Gussen. Castle didn’t spend a lot of time fundraising for the primary, and to be honest, whoever wants to beat Garrett has to make this a full time committment well in advance of the primary.

    It would be nice to see someone start laying the groundwork for a run against Garrett now, it’s pretty clear that NJ5 isn’t the Republican stronghold it once was. A candidate, who is reasonably well funded ($1-1.5 million) would have a real shot to win this race.

    To bad Rothman didn’t run.

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  7. CyberKat

    I’ve got my sleeves rolled up and I’m ready to start working now to get a candidate that can beat NJ5.  I’m deeply disappointed in Steve Rothman.  He chickened out IMO.  He could have beaten Garrett.  

    On the other hand, Adam Gussen must have done something right to get so far with such a little amount of $.  I hope he builds on that and runs again, and I hope he announces early. I heard him speak and I thought he’d make a good representative for NJ.  It’s going to take 2 years to get the word out.

    I think part of the problem is that no one knows who Garrett is.  He doesn’t do interviews.  He doesn’t do town halls.  I even heard that he won’t meet with constituents.  Unless a voter cares enough to look up his voting record – which most won’t.

    I think that as long as Citizens United stands, we need a Super Pac or a least just a Pac.  We need to raise money to run ads and let people know just how dreadful Garrett is.  Then when we have a candidate, hopefully Gussen, the groundwork will have been laid.

    I got shoved into Garrett’s district from my nice comfortable 9th.  I DO NOT want to have Garrett as my representative in Congress.  I know nothing about fundraising or how to start a Super Pac, but I’m sure willing to do the work.

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  8. Bertin Lefkovic

    …did you run for Freeholder?  Why is this the first that Blue Jersey is hearing about it?

    I have known Dave Parano since he was working on the statewide coordinated campaign and I was working on the Pascrell campaign in 2000 and I can second Carol’s emotion.

    That said, with all due respect to Dave, Pascrell’s congressional campaign and every other one in the state was won and lost as soon as the candidates were nominated, thanks to our state’s erstwhile congressional redistricting commission, which, once again, drew a map that makes it virtually impossible (with the possible exception of CD5) for a challenger to defeat an incumbent.

    This is yet one more way that the Democratic and Republicans in our state are destroying our democracy, making wonderful people like Dave Parano somewhat less necessary.

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  9. carolh

    http://www.bluejersey.com/diar… That was when we broke Boss Joe’s piggy bank.  He had no idea we were going for the Freeholder seats for real until two weeks before the Primary. He freaked out and outspent us 13 to one and we still got 25% of the vote and a ton of Committee seats. My diaries from then tell the story…

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  10. Erik Preuss

    But i certainly don’t hope he runs again. Mostly fundraising for congressional races involves the candidate actually sitting down and calling people who have donated to democrats before. The fact that he didn’t raise any money means that he didn’t make any kind of serious effort to win. I’m sure more dem super pacs will pop up over the next couple of years, but they won’t donate to races like this without a serious candidate

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