Nine of New Jersey’s 12 congressional districts were won by incumbents this year, and of the three open seats, only one district was seen as competitive going into Election Day.
In the heavily gerrymandered districts, usually the most important elections are during the primaries, which just makes general elections mandate-affirming exercises. However, in New Jersey, nearly half of the electorate is locked out of the closed primary process because they choose not to affiliate with the Republican and Democratic parties.As a result of the partisan electoral process, New Jersey was left with only one "competitive" congressional race in 2014 -- the Third District.
In NJ-3, former Eagles football player, Republican U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan, announced his retirement earlier this year. A fierce race shaped up between Democrat Aimee Belgard, Republican Tom MacArthur, and third-party candidate Frederick John LaVergne. The race was in a dead heat going into the last month of the campaign between the two major-party candidates, but MacArthur pulled ahead in the polls in the last week.
On the Friday before Election Day, the GOP filed to have hundreds of mail-in ballots disqualified since the Democratic state committee left out required information in the ballot applications they sent out. As Democrats acknowledged, they had not filled out an ‘assistor section,’ which they called a technical oversight.
On Tuesday afternoon, two judges ruled that the votes could be counted. The 843 mail-in ballots are still separated from the rest of the ballots in case there is an appeal.
Tom MacArthur still came out on top with a wide margin separating him from his opponents, keeping the district Republican. With 98.6 percent of precincts reporting, he received 55 percent of the vote to Belgard’s 44 percent. LaVergne received just under 2 percent, but this was still the closest race in the state.
No candidate in New Jersey won by less than an 11-point margin.
An article published on IVN on Monday predicted the outcome of all the congressional races in New Jersey. With election laws that make nearly all the districts largely uncompetitive, these forecasts held up. The results are below.
Congressional District 1 -- Open Seat
*There were 5 additional names outside the major parties on the ballot who received one percent or less of the vote.
Congressional District 2
*There were 4 additional names outside the major parties on the ballot who received less than one percent of the vote.
Congressional District 3 -- Open Seat
Congressional District 4
Congressional District 5
Congressional District 6
Congressional District 7
Congressional District 8
*There were 3 other names on the ballot outside the major parties, all of whom received less than 2 percent of the vote.
Congressional District 9
Congressional District 10
*There were two other names on the ballot outside the major parties who received around one percent or less of the vote.
Congressional District 11
Congressional District 12 -- Open Seat
*There were 5 additional names on the ballot outside the major parties, all of whom received less than one percent of the vote
There is no change in representation with regard to political party balance. All of the districts stayed in the same party’s hands. Bonnie Walsh Coleman is the first woman to represent New Jersey since 2003.
Photo Source: AP