Republicans picked up seats in the state Legislature and narrowly held onto spots in the most contested, purple-turning-blue legislative districts during Tuesday’s “midterms” on Gov. Phil Murphy’s job as the state’s chief executive.
Democrats currently hold a 27-13 majority in the state Senate and 54-26 majority in the Assembly, both of which will change just slightly in Republican’s favor this January.
Meanwhile, in Jersey City – where both sides for and against an AirBnB ordinance spent a combined $5 million in an effort to sway voters – residents approved a referendum allowing the city government to go ahead with implementing new restrictions on short-term rentals.
In the First Legislative District, Republican Senate candidate Mike Testa beat Democratic Sen. Bob Andrzejczak by more than 3,500 votes.
In the same district, Republican Assembly candidates Erik Simonsen and Antwan McClellan unseated Democrat incumbents Bruce Land and Matthew Milan. The district has long been a Republican stronghold in the state — U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who previously served as a state senator there, was one of just two House Democrats to vote no on impeachment proceedings against U.S. President Donald Trump.
Also in South Jersey, in the Second Legislative District, Republican Assembly candidates Philip Guenther and John Risley won the seats currently held by Democrat incumbents Vincent Mazzeo and John Armato.
But that race could be too close to call, as could several other races across the state where the apparent victors are leading by only single-digit percentage points.
All the numbers come from the Associated Press, and not the local county election offices.
“Republicans in New Jersey won’t be shouted into a corner,” NJGOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt said in a statement Tuesday night. “We pushed back Phil Murphy’s blue wave and in a state like New Jersey, that gives us momentum going into 2020.”
In the 21st Legislative District – now represented by Democrat U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski, in an increasingly blue voter base – Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, both Republicans, narrowly held their seats despite strong challenges by two Democrats.
Nearby in the 25th Legislative District, Republican Sen. Anthony Bucco won his reelection campaign for Assemblyman, a seat he recently vacated. Bucco will continue to serve in the senate seat previously held by his father, Tony Bucco who passed away in September, while the local county Republican party will pick his replacement in the Assembly.
Murphy spent the past week campaigning across the state for Democratic incumbents and challengers. He is scheduled to address media alongside New Jersey State Democratic Chairman John Currie Wednesday morning in Newark.