Democrats reeling in New Jersey after internal polling proved dead wrong

Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester), the state’s second most powerful elected official, appeared to be on the verge of losing re-election to a virtually unknown and basically unfunded Republican Ed Durr. Democratic state senators and their allies worked furiously on the phones Wednesday to position themselves to replace Sweeney, who has been in charge of the Senate for 12 years.

Sweeney’s likely defeat has been a source of joy for both Republicans and progressive Democrats, as he often allied himself with former Republican Governor Chris Christie and was a key partner in passing benefits cuts.

“Positive: Sweeney”, tweeted Barbara Buono, a former Senator who was the 2013 Democratic candidate against Christie but received little help from New Jersey Democratic bosses.

The battle for the party in New Jersey, long a Democratic stronghold with a willingness to bring Republicans to the governor’s mansion, deepened its setbacks nationally after Glenn Youngkin’s victory in Virginia on Tuesday. The state Democrats on the battlefield also appear on the verge of losing control of the state delegate house just two years after flipping the chamber.

Similarly, the New Jersey Democrats are likely to see their Senate majority of 25-15 shrink by one to three seats and their 52-28 convention majority by up to eight.

Tuesday’s result – whether Murphy wins or loses – suggests the efforts that Democrats flipped during the Trump era to hold seats in the suburbs of the U.S. House of Representatives are likely at risk after the suburbs without didn’t deliver the former president for them on the ballot. The strategy that Democrats across the country had been counting on to save them at halfway through next year now seems unlikely to succeed.

And Murphy’s left-wing government, which enforced abortion rights and portrayed itself as an anti-Trumper, did not juice the party’s grassroots base – at least not enough to crack down on the red mass.

Ciattarelli and Murphy took turns to take narrow leads on Wednesday as the voting resumption resumed, though political forecasters noted that the votes not yet counted would likely favor the Democrats. This contains 56 machines in strongly democratic areas from Essex County, home of Newark, that were incorrectly not counted on election night.

“Our team is focused on ensuring that all legal votes are counted and that our citizens can trust the system,” the Ciattarelli campaign said in a statement, suggesting potential litigation to lead the late vote count.

“Last night was a historic night for the New Jersey Republicans,” said Ciattarelli spokesman Stami Williams.

Brendan Gill, who led Murphy’s 2017 campaign and worked for Murphy-friendly independent spending groups that election cycle, said he was confident Murphy will win. But even he admitted that his party did not see these kinds of elections coming.

“Based on the public opinion polls and what was mostly talked about, I don’t think there was anyone in the state who, when we started on Tuesday, believed there could be significant losses in the legislature,” said Gill in an interview. “I don’t think there was any idea that the race would be that close either.”

Most public polls showed Murphy between six and eleven points ahead.

Some Democrats have been less generous to the governor.

Julie Roginsky, who became Murphy’s first consultant in 2017, said Murphy takes women, black and Hispanic voters for granted. Roginsky broke up with Murphy on allegations that Gill participated in misogyny and inappropriate behavior during the previous campaign, allegations that Gill has denied and attributed to a power struggle.

“He paid a lot of lip service to women. He boasted … that he had a female majority cabinet, like he had the first African American woman lieutenant governor. But in his inner circle there hasn’t been a woman or had one since I left in 2017, ”Roginsky said in an interview, adding that Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver was not regularly present at major election events.

With reduced majorities in both houses of the legislature, Murphy’s pursuit of progressive priorities like gun control and abortion rights – things that democratic legislators were already squeamish about – could be dead.

“Governor Murphy and his allies mistook the Trump era for what the state really is. It’s not the ‘California on the east coast’, “said Ciattarelli strategist Chris Russell, referring to 2019 Murphy comment. “Nobody wants to be here.”

Russell – who expressed his confidence in Ciattarelli’s chance – said even if Murphy gets a narrow win, it will be at the expense of his agenda.

“Any mandate he would have, should he succeed, has been wiped out,” said Russell.

Leave a Comment