Volume 7/Issue 12

  • Ambassador Murphy & Lt. Governor Guadagno Win Gubernatorial Primaries
  • Key Legislative Races

Ambassador Murphy & Lt. Governor Guadagno Win Gubernatorial Primaries

Former Ambassador Phil Murphy and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno both achieved double-digit margins of victory over multiple challengers in their respective primary election contests on Tuesday. 

With 99 percent of the voting tallies in, Ambassador Murphy received 48% of the vote followed by former U.S. Treasury Undersecretary Jim Johnson and Assemblyman John Wisniewski at 22%.   The Ambassador won 20 of the 21 counties in the State, losing Salem county by 3 votes.

The Lt. Governor led her closet challenger, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, by 47%-31% split.  She won on the strength of having the party line in the key counties of Monmouth (her home county), Ocean, and Bergen, each of which provide a 3 to 1 margin of victory.

In what may be a forecast for the November general election and is likely a barometer for current voter enthusiasm, Democratic turnout was significantly higher than Republicans. According to Patrick Murray, the Director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, total voter turnout for the primary election was around 13%, with twice as many Democrats showing up to vote (approximately 500K registered Democrats versus 245K registered Republicans). 

According to earlier polls testing general election matchups, Ambassador Murphy starts the general election campaign as the front runner. 

Key Legislative Races

There were several primary races in legislative districts across the State. 

In the 31st Legislative District, incumbent Assembly members Angela McKnight and Nicholas Chiaravalloti easily defeated their Democratic challengers, including one candidate that received significant political and financial support from both the local Jersey City teacher’s union and the NJ Education Association.  Despite opposition from powerful special interests groups, Assemblywoman McKnight told PoliticoNew Jersey, that she was “…all about quality education” and that her constituents understood that she is “for a parent’s choice.”

In the Middlesex County-based 17th Legislative District, Democratic incumbent Senator Bob Smith and his running mates, Assemblyman Joe Egan and Assemblyman Joe Danielsen, easily defeated their three challengers, who received political backing from Democracy for America, Howard Dean’s national progressive advocacy organization.

Senator Steve Oroho of the Sussex County-based 24th Legislative District, a sponsor of the bill to increase the gas tax to pay for transportation infrastructure and Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce, a transportation committee member who also supported the measure, both overcame opponents who focused their election efforts on the incumbents’ support for the tax increase.

In a contest for the open Senate and Assembly seats in the 40th Legislative District, Passaic County Clerk Kristen Corrado and former Wyckoff Mayor Christopher DePhillips handily defeated their opponents, who included former Assembly Majority Leader and current Bergen County GOP Chairman Paul DiGaetano and former State Senator Norm Robertson. Ms. Corrado and Mayor DePhillips were joined in their victory with sitting Assemblyman Kevin Rooney. The winning slate was supported by retiring 40th District Senator Kevin O’Toole.