By Jim Ellis
July 8, 2020 — Five weeks after the originally scheduled New Jersey primary was supposed to occur, Garden State voters went to the polls yesterday or mailed their ballots to choose party nominees for the Fall elections.Former vice president Joe Biden and first-term US Sen. Cory Booker scored easy wins in the Democratic primary, with each man recording almost 90 percent of the intra-party vote. The Republican Senate race is rather close, but it appears that 2018 congressional candidate and businessman Hirsch Singh will score a tight win and advance into the general election. Sen. Booker is a lock to win the general election.
Vote totals are low, suggesting that once again it will be several days before we have declared winners in all races. Unlike other states in this situation, however, few close races are on the board.
Party-switching Congressman Jeff Van Drew won his first Republican primary with a preliminary figure of 81 percent, which solidifies the Republican base for the November election. The 2nd District, which encompasses most of southern New Jersey, will now feature a competitive general election between Rep. Van Drew and preliminary Democratic primary winner, Amy Kennedy the wife of former Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who scored a win that looks to fall in the 59 percent range.
Freshman Democratic Rep. Andy Kim (D-Bordentown) looks to be facing venture capitalist David Richter in the 3rd District race. Richter appears to have scored a big win over former Burlington County freeholder Kate Gibbs. This race could potentially become the most competitive race in the state.
Veteran Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton), running for a 21st term in the House, was re-nominated with what could be 95 percent of the vote once the final tally is available. Tallying approximately 70 percent of the early Democratic vote, former US Foreign Service officer Stephanie Schmid advances into the general election. Rep. Smith, the only Republican congressional survivor in the 2018 election, is a heavy favorite to again carry the district in the fall campaign.
Votes are slowly coming in from the northern NJ-5 District and, as expected, two-term Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) was crushing Arati Kreibich, a neuroscientist and Glen Rock City councilwoman, his Democratic challenger from the political left. Republican investment banker Frank Pallotta looks like an easy winner in the GOP primary but is a decided underdog against Rep. Gottheimer in the general election.
State Senate Minority Leader and former congressional and US Senate candidate Tom Kean Jr., also as expected, was topping 85 percent of the vote to capture the 7th Congressional District Republican nomination. The victory sets up a likely toss-up contest opposite freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill).
Veteran Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York) scored a projected 76 percent win over attorney Hector Oseguera and retired Navy SEAL Will Sheehan, which virtually clinches the seat for what will be the congressman’s eighth term in office.
Elsewhere in the state, Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson), Donald Payne Jr. (D-Newark), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing Township) all were breezing to re-nomination with a minimum of 83 percent of the vote from early tabulations. Pascrell, just a day ago, underwent a serious heart operation but is expected to fully recover.
Delaware voters participated in their stand-alone presidential primary and both Biden — standing before his home-state voters in the new capacity of presidential nominee-designate — and President Trump breezed to what will be 90 percent wins in their respective primaries. Candidates in the rest of Delaware’s offices will be nominated in a last-in-the-nation September 15th primary election.