In the U. S. elections last week Republicans took control of the U. S. Senate with 7 new seats and as of now have a lead of 52 to 46 with two undecided. In the House of Representatives Republicans, already in the majority, have gained 12 seats to lead 244 to 184 with 7 undecided. In gubernatorial races, where Christie spent so much time, Republicans gained net 3 seats with 2 still undecided.
In New Jersey we note in congressional races low Democratic turn out, an exciting victory in CD 12, heartbreak in CD 3 and 5, the winners all being those who raised the most money, independent funders spending big in CD 3 but not so much elsewhere, the departure of a highly respected congressman in CD 12, mixed quality of public polls, all incumbents winning, and the congressional delegation balance remaining unchanged at six R’s and six D’s. Both Public Questions passed. Voting by mail has increased from 10,000 in 2003 to 139,000 in the most recent report for 2013.
Also worth noting is the resurgence of county Democrats in Bergen, which has the state’s largest number of registered voters and whose Dem. Party Chair Lou Stellato is being wooed by potential gubernatorial candidates. Jim Tedesco (D) defeated long-time politician Kathe Donovan (R) to become the B. C. Executive. Current Freeholder Board Chair David Ganz (D) was re-elected as was Joan Voss (D), allowing the Board to remain in control of Democrats.
U. S. Senate
With a bulging bankroll and a win in the 2012 Special Election, no Dem (big or small) wanted to take on Cory Booker (D) in the Senate primary. A Republican called Jeff Bell, who loves the Gold Standard (ended in 1933) and had not resided in NJ the past 30 years, defeated someone called Richard Pezzullo by 5,000 votes to become the challenger. Bell has since returned to obscurity while Booker continues on as a celebrity. (997,000 to 763,000)
For brief comments on the 12 congressional races go below the fold.
House of Representatives
CD 1 – With a little help from his brother and unnecessary financial support from Majority PAC, Donald Norcross (D) succeeded long-time incumbent Rob Andrews (D) who resigned while under investigation. Former football star Gary Cobb (R) never had chance in Norcrossland, but he did better than some of his predecessors did against Andrews. (87,000 to 60,000)
CD 2 – Long-time incumbent Frank LoBiondo (R) lost his first congressional race against another long-time incumbent William Hughes, Sr (D). This time he faced Bill Hughes, Jr. (D) who put up a fight, but lost. (105,000 to 63,000)
CD 3 – Incumbent Jon Runyan (R) explained that his resignation was largely due to the dysfunction in the House. Carpetbagger Tom MacArthur (R) contributed $5 million to his own campaign while independent funders heavily supported him and opposed Aimee Belgard (D). Nonetheless, Belgard, among the losing Democrats, came the closest to defeating a Republican. (95,000 to 76,000)
CD 4 – Perennial champ incumbent Chris Smith (R) (for over 30 years) swamped Ruben Scolavino (R). (116,000 to 53,000)
CD 5 – Six-time winner Scott Garrett (R), retrograde conservative, defeated upstart challenger Roy Cho (D), who raised over $1 million (vs. Garrett’s $3 million). Cho launched a vigorous attack and offered a moderately progressive platform which in the closing weeks made him appear to be a possible winner. Given the huge sums available to Majority PAC and DCCC, it’s too bad they didn’t invest some in this challenger to make him and his message better known. Maybe a second time will be the charm. (101,000 to 78,000)
CD 6 – Frank Pallone (D) an excellent progressive congressman against an underfunded Anthony Wilkinson (R) in a low-turnout district. (71,000 to 46,000)
CD 7 – Leonard Lance (R), who some think would be more moderate were it not for the Tea Party, might yet be defeated, but not by the ineffectual Janice Kovach (D). (102,000 to 66,000.)
CD 8 – Long-time incumbent Albio Sires (D) in an overwhelmingly Dem district against ineffectual candidate Jude Tiscornia (R) in the lowest turnout district. (57,000 to 14,000)
CD 9 – Bill Pascrell (D), warhorse, moderately progressive, and recent slayer of progressive Steve Rothman (D) overwhelmed Dierdre Paul (R). (79,000 to 34,000)
CD 10 – Donald Payne’s (D) name recognition helps, as does the Essex machine, and he is displaying progressive chops, but Yolanda Dentley (R) was no match for him nor was an independent challenger whose name you have to love: Dark Angel. It was a tsunami for the opposition. (92,000 to 14,000)
CD 11 – Perennial, conservative Rodney Frelinghuysen (R) defeated Marc Dunek (D) (106,000 to 63,000)
CD 12 – In this open seat Bonnie Watson Coleman (D) becomes our first African-American woman in Congress after defeating progressive Linda Greenstein (D) in the primary and conservative physician Alieta Eck (R) in the General Election. She brings a powerful, activist, progressive voice. Rep. Rush Holt (D) who resigns this seat effective January will be greatly missed. (89,000 to 54,000)