2018 Primary Election Report

There were little or no surprises in this year’s congressional primaries in New Jersey. Those incumbents running for re-election won their party’s nomination for another term, and all CULAC-supported candidates won their race.

In one of the two open-seat districts, CULAC supported state Senator (and credit union supporter) Jeff Van Drew to be the Democratic nominee to succeed Congressman Frank LoBiondo in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District. A long-time credit union supporter, LoBiondo decided to retire rather than seek a thirteenth term.

The NJ Credit Union League did not take a position in the other open-seat, the 11th Congressional District where twelve-term incumbent Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen is retiring.

The most recent New Jersey voter profile reveals that there are 5.8 million registered voters in the Garden State with unaffiliated voters, numbering 2.5 million, forming the largest concentration. There are about 2.1 million registered Democrats and 1.2 million Republicans.

Primary voting in New Jersey is typically light. The lowest in recent years came in 2015, when only 5% of registered Democrats and Republican cast ballots in races for the state Senate and General Assembly. Not surprisingly, the biggest primary turnouts are in presidential election years, with turnout hitting 35% in 2008 and 26% in 2016.

Nationally, the mid-term elections will determine which party controls the legislative branch of the federal government, the U.S. Senate and/or the U.S. House of Representatives.

There are currently 51 Republicans, 47 Democrats and two Independents in the Senate. The Independents caucus with Democrats for a 51-49 Republican majority. There are 25 Democrats, 9 Republicans and one Independent up this year. Democrats must pick up two seats to capture control of the upper chamber.

There are currently 238 Republicans, 193 Democrats and four vacancies in the House. All 435 seats are up. Democrats must pick-up 25 Republican seats to reach the 218 seats needed for control of the lower chamber.

Five of the twelve New Jersey seats are held by Republicans. With two of those incumbents retiring, Democrats are looking to the Garden State to pick-up at least two of the 25 seats needed to wrest control of the House. Absent the power of incumbency, open seats tend to be more competitive.

In addition to the twelve House seats, the U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Robert Menendez, will be decided in November.

Here’s how the races look after the June primaries:

U.S. Senate

New Jersey has not elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate since 1972. Bob Hugin, a former Marine Corps officer and biotech CEO, won the GOP nod defeating businessman Brian Goldberg. Hugin’s nomination is expected to set up a competitive race against Menendez who defeated challenger Lisa McCormick. CULAC supported Menendez, a member of the Senate Banking Committee.

U.S. House

District 1
The uncontested Republican primary winner was Paul Dilks who will face incumbent Donald Norcross, who successfully defeated two Democratic primary challengers, Robert Carlson and Scot Tomaszewski. CULAC supported Norcross.

District 2
There were four candidates for the Democratic nomination, state Sen. Jeff Van Drew, retired teacher Tanzie Youngblood, former Cory Booker aide Will Cunningham, and activist Nathan Kleinman. Van Drew won. Engineer Hirsh Singh, former state Assembly member Samuel Fiocchi, lawyer Seth Grossman, and former FBI agent Robert Turkavage ran on the Republican side. While Singh led the race in coveted county party endorsements, Grossman won the GOP nod. CULAC supported Sen. Van Drew.

District 3
The general election race was set by uncontested primaries with Democrat Andy Kim facing off against Republican incumbent Tom MacArthur in November. Kim served as a national security adviser in the Obama administration. CULAC supported MacArthur, a House Financial Services Committee member who has added his co-sponsorship to various credit union-supported bills and cast numerous votes in support of credit unions.

District 4
Sometimes referred to as the most Republican-leaning congressional district in the state, incumbent Chris Smith, the dean of the state’s delegation, ran uncontested and will face Democrat Josh Welle, a Navy veteran and founder of a technology software company in November. Welle defeated Jim Keady, a former Asbury Park councilman.

District 5
One of Democrats’ few 2016 House pickups resulted in an uncontested 2018 primary for incumbent Josh Gottheimer. Republicans hope they can take back the seat, and veteran conservative activist and former mayor of Bogota Steve Lonegan faced off in an extremely close race against former Cresskill Council member John McCann, the winner in the GOP primary.

CULAC supported Gottheimer, a House Financial Services Committee member who has added his co-sponsorship to various credit union-supported bills and cast numerous votes in support of credit unions.

District 6
The uncontested Republican primary winner was technology specialist Richard Pezzullo who will face incumbent Frank Pallone in November. Pallone handily defeated auditor Javahn Walker. CULAC supported Pallone, the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and frequent member business lending reform co-sponsor.

District 7
This is expected to be a closely watched race where five-term incumbent Leonard Lance, has tried to balance the Trump factions in his district and with his more moderate views. Lance is the only New Jersey Republican in a district Hillary Clinton won in 2016. He will face Democrat Tom Malinowski, a former assistant secretary of state under President Obama, who defeated attorney Goutam Jois and Peter Jacob, a social worker who pledged not to accept PAC money. CULAC supported Lance.

District 8
Uncontested primary races will pit incumbent Democrat Albio Sires against Republican John Muniz in November.

District 9
Incumbent Bill Pascrell, Jr. overcame token challenger William Henry to secure nomination for a twelfth term. The Republican primary was uncontested with winner Eric Fisher. CULAC supported Pascrell, a House Ways and Means Committee member and outspoken supporter of the credit union tax status.

District 10
The Republican primary race was uncontested with real estate developer Agha Khan declared the winner to face Incumbent Democrat Donald Payne, Jr. in November. CULAC supported Payne who has been a credit union-supporter since arriving on Capitol Hill to assume the seat his late father, another credit union-supporter, held for twenty-three years.

District 11
This once reliably Republican district may prove to be one of the more closely watched races in the nation. Democrats in the race included attorney and former Navy pilot Mikie Sherrill, entrepreneur, social worker and advocate Tamara Harris, research scientist Alison Heslin, lawyer Mitchell Cobert, and history professor Mark Washburne. Sherrill easily secured the nomination after surpassing her rivals in fundraising and winning all the county-line endorsements. Candidates for the Republican nomination included Assembly member Jay Webber, entrepreneur Peter De Neufville, investment banker and Army Reserve Maj. Antony Ghee, liberal Republican Martin Hewitt, and former concert promoter/Roger Stone employee Patrick Allocco. Webber is the GOP nominee who will face Mikie Sherrill in November.

District 12
Uncontested primaries nominated incumbent Democrat Bonnie Watson Coleman to a third term and lawyer Daryl Kipnis as the Republican candidate.

CULAC Support

CULAC provided the following support to 2018 congressional primary campaigns in New Jersey:

  • Bob Menendez for US Senate ($4,500)
  • Josh Gottheimer for Congress ($5,000)
  • Leonard Lance for Congress ($2,000)
  • Tom MacArthur for Congress ($5,000)
  • Donald Norcross for Congress ($4,000)
  • Frank Pallone for Congress ($5,000)
  • Bill Pascrell for Congress ($ 5,000)
  • Donald Payne, Jr. for Congress ($3,000)
  • Jeff Van Drew for Congress ($5,000)

Another $10,000 has already been provided to four campaigns for the November election.

A total of $38,500 was contributed to 2018 primary campaigns in New Jersey. The additional $10,000 for the general brings the Garden State’s current number to $48,500. Another $20,000 is expected to be contributed between now and November.

A complete listing of 2018 primary election results across the state is available at http://www.njelections.org/election-information-results-county-sites.html.

Download PDF version here.