“Halfway through the primary season, election results across the country have strengthened the Democrats’ hand in their quest for control of the House, even as shifts in the national mood raise the possibility that an anticipated electoral wave could flatten into a ripple.” – Washington Post June 6
Taking a longer view one could argue the reverse is true because in the first five polls after Trump became President, Real Clear Politics indicated his job approval was 45.2, whereas, in the five most recent polls his approval has decreased to 42.5. Regardless, the goal of taking control of the House is not assured.
While turnout in New Jersey’s primary was not high, in the open seats it was stronger for Democrats and weaker for Republicans. New Jersey is now a bright spot, but it will take continued effort to reach the goal line. As a follow-up to yesterday’s post on the midterm primary, we now have further data which was not previously available on the uncontested seats for the districts in play.
The likelihood of flipping the open seat in CD 11 following the stupendous Democratic turnout, which exceeded both the primaries of 2014 and 2016, is excellent. Twice the number of Democrats than Republicans voted, and Mikie Sherrill (D) far exceeded the two Republicans in the vote count. (photo left of supporters after Sherrill’s victory)
In CD 2, albeit with the conservative Democrat Jeff Van Drew, but a prodigious vote-getter, the prospects here are good. He received about 50% more votes than Seth Grossman, a “Make America Great Again” candidate who will be his rival.
In CD 7, which Hillary Clinton narrowly won in 2016, there were three Dem and three GOP candidates in the current race. The Dem turnout exceeded that of the GOP and that of the 2014 primary. Tom Malinowski (D) garnered slightly more votes than incumbent Leonard Lance – a good sign.
DATA ON THE UNCONTESTED SEATS
In CD 3 both candidates were in uncontested races. Andy Kim (D) got 28,102 votes, and incumbent Tom MacArthur (R) received only 25,170, low for an incumbent. MacArthur fared poorly in receiving less votes than Republicans received in either the 2014 or 2016 primaries. Kim got more votes than Democrats in the 2014 primary. This brightens Kim’s future but is not dispositive in a Republican-leaning district with an incumbent who has money galore.
In CD 5 where incumbent Democrat Josh Gottheimer was uncontested the Democratic turnout was 26,505 votes as opposed to 10,560 in 2014 and 43,250 in 2016. This is far from a knockout punch, but better than the individual results of the two fans of Trump – John McCann (R) with 16,313 votes and Steve Lonegan (R) with 14,402 votes. CD 5 leans slightly Republican but Trump won here by only one point. The odds continue to favor Gottheimer holding the seat, but national GOP figures are planning to spend big in hopes of recapturing the district.
In another closely watched race, not listed by the raters as a district in play, incumbent Republican Chris Smith in office since 1981 was uncontested with a Republican turnout of 25,897 votes vs. the Democratic winner Joshua Welle with 16,875 votes and Democrat candidate Jim Keady with 12,648 votes. With a total Democratic turnout of 29,523 the Dems attracted more followers to the polls than the Republican incumbent.
In a nutshell we remain with five seats in play and varying possibilities of winning in all five. Normally it’s not until the Fall that serious campaigning resumes, but with so much at stake it’s important to keep up the momentum during the summer. The need continues to protest the disastrous Trump policies, as seen in the preview picture above, and to support our Dem surging candidates as seen in the march after Sherrill won.