Politics

DCCC Picks Easily Win Democratic Nods in New Jersey

Sen. Menendez underwhelms in primary win over little-known challenger

New Jersey Democrat Mikie Sherrill, seen here marching in a March for our Lives event in Morristown in March, won the party nomination for the open 11th District seat. (Simone Pathé/Roll Call file photo)

Former Navy pilot and prosecutor Mikie Sherrill easily secured the Democratic nod for New Jersey’s open 11th District seat Tuesday night.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, she had 77 percent of the vote over four other Democrats, according to The Associated Press. Family advocate Tamara Harris, who had financial backing from the Congressional Black Caucus PAC and California Sen. Kamala Harris, came in second with 15 percent.

Sherrill will face state Assemblyman Jay Webber, who bested a five-candidate field for the GOP nomination. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Webber led with 40 percent of the vote, according to the AP.

Sherrill entered the contest for the north Jersey seat over a year ago to challenge GOP incumbent Rodney Frelinghuysen. The Appropriations Committee chairman announced in January that he wouldn’t seek a 13th term, after which Sherrill quickly earned a spot on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Red to Blue program for promising recruits.

The Democratic nominee starts with a significant cash advantage over her GOP opponent. She finished the pre-primary period with $1.8 million to Webber’s $226,000.

President Donald Trump narrowly carried this affluent, suburban district in 2016. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Tilts DemocraticICYMI: Which House Races Are the Parties Targeting? Look to the Money, the TV Ad Money

2nd District

In the state’s 2nd District, state Sen. Jeff Van Drew won the Democratic nomination for the south Jersey-based seat, a likely pickup opportunity for the party now that it’s open. Longtime Republican Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo isn’t seeking re-election.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Van Drew led with 55 percent of the vote, according to the AP, finishing ahead of three challengers. Retired teacher Tanzie Youngblood, who was backed by the political arm of the Congressional Black Caucus, came in second with 19 percent.

The DCCC had added Van Drew, a moderate who opposed same-sex marriage and sided with the National Rifle Association in the state Legislature, to its Red to Blue program in February.

Van Drew will face former Atlantic County Freeholder Seth Grossman, who won the GOP nomination Tuesday night. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, he led a field of four Republicans with 39 percent of the vote, according to the AP.

Trump carried the 2nd District by 5 points in 2016, but without LoBiondo, who had a close relationship with organized labor, Democrats are optimistic about flipping the seat. Van Drew ended the pre-primary reporting period with $412,000 in the bank to Grossman’s $11,000. Inside Elections rates the race Tilts Democratic.

3rd District

Andy Kim faced no opposition in the Democratic primary to take on GOP Rep. Tom MacArthur in the 3rd District in south central Jersey. MacArthur also ran unopposed in the Republican primary.

The DCCC added the former National Security Council official to Red to Blue in February. Kim ended the pre-primary period with $972,000 on hand to MacArthur’s $1 million.

Trump carried the district by 6 points. Inside Elections rates the race Likely Republican.

5th District

Freshman Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer is one of the GOP’s few targets this cycle. He’s a member of the DCCC’s Frontline program for vulnerable incumbents.

He’ll next face former Cresskill Borough Councilman John McCann, who defeated perennial candidate Steve Lonegan in the GOP primary.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, McCann led Lonegan 53 percent to 47 percent, according to the AP.

Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota, has previously run unsuccessfully for Senate, twice for governor and for two other New Jersey congressional districts. He had endorsements from Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, as well as former Trump campaign aide Corey Lewandowski.

The National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee had made Lonegan a “contender” on its Young Guns program for strong recruits. McCann had made it to “On the Radar,” the lower tier of the program.

Trump narrowly carried the district in 2016, but Gottheimer, who’s carved out a moderate profile in Congress, has the edge, starting with a strong financial advantage. He ended the pre-primary period with $3.9 million to McCann's $46,000. The race is rated Leans Democratic.

7th District

Democrat Tom Malinowski easily won the nomination to take on GOP Rep. Leonard Lance in the 7th District, the only contested Garden State district that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016.

Another Red to Blue candidate, Malinowski, the former assistant secretary of State for democracy, human rights and labor, bested two other Democrats in his primary. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, he led with 67 percent of the vote, according to the AP.

The general election is rated Tilts Republican. Malinowski ended the pre-primary reporting period with $782,000 to Lance’s $900,000.

Senate

The Democratic primary for Senate wasn’t expected to earn too much attention, with incumbent Robert Menendez running against a little-known challenger.

But with 99 percent of precincts reporting, the two-term senator led with an underwhelming 62 percent, according to the AP, while local media publisher and liberal activist Lisa McCormick took in 38 percent — a significant showing for a candidate who hasn’t reported raising any money.

The Senate Ethics Committee “severely admonished” Menende earlier this year for improperly accepting gifts from a South Florida ophthalmologist, who had been a longtime campaign donor and friend. That was after the federal corruption case against the senator was dropped.

Menendez is facing a general election challenge from pharmaceutical executive Bob Hugin, who easily won the GOP primary Tuesday night. Inside Elections rates the race Solid Democratic.

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