While the national picture is still coming into focus, it’s clear that New Jersey’s 2020 election was a great day for our Democratic Party.
While dealing with unprecedented circumstances, we had strong turnout, broad participation, and very few issues. We protected people’s health and we protected their right to vote, and that’s a win-win. In fact, we will almost certainly surpass the overall turnout from the 2016 election when all the provisional and late arriving mail-in votes are counted.
And the results for Democrats all across our state were loud and clear — from Joe Biden and Kamala Harris easily carrying New Jersey, to Cory Booker and our Democratic Congressional delegation being re-elected, to county and local races, this election showed a growing and deepening commitment to Democratic candidates, Democratic priorities and Democratic values.
While there are still votes to be counted, it appears that we defended the gains we made two years ago by re-electing Mikie Sherrill and Tom Malinowski, and Andy Kim is in a strong position to win. Protecting these frontline Democratic seats was among our highest priorities in this election and returning them to Washington is a tremendous win for our state.
We also will be sending a tremendous team back with them, including Josh Gottheimer, Bill Pascrell, Albio Sires, Don Payne Jr., Frank Pallone, Bonnie Watson-Coleman and Donald Norcross. With those victories in hand, it appears that we will maintain an overwhelming Democratic advantage in our Congressional delegation.
At the same time, Amy Kennedy’s race in the Second District is still too close to call, and we want to give her campaign all the support and encouragement they need to pull out a win. Regardless, New Jersey Democrats stepped up and delivered a clear message — that we are a Democratic state that supports Democratic policies and wants to move forward with leaders who share those values.
New Jersey voters also overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to legalize adult-use marijuana, in a historic and monumental step forward for social and racial justice. Marijauana legalization was one of the signature issues in our 2017 campaign, and while it has taken longer than we hoped, I could not be more excited to now be moving forward. We have been working with the Legislature on enabling legislation and we anticipate having more to say on that soon. But suffice to say — this result is a sea change and it’s another sign that New Jersey is ready to move forward and keep making our state stronger and fairer.
All across our state, we are seeing blue counties getting deeper blue, swing counties turning into blue counties, and red counties becoming more purple. For example:
- Bergen County, where Democrats hold a lead of approximately 60,000 votes county-wide
- Somerset County and Burlington County, which we all saw as two of the main battlegrounds in last year’s election, but where Democrats are now showing large leads in races for Freeholder and Surrogate
- Morris County, where Joe Biden and Cory Booker appear to hold significant leads, where Cary Amaro has a lead for Freeholder, and Rupande Mehta and Darcy Draeger are still in the hunt in District 25
- Monmouth County, where Moira Nelson and Michael Penna currently hold a narrow lead
- Hunterdon County, where Joe Biden currently leads
We don’t know the final results of these elections yet, but the fact that Democrats are competitive in many traditionally Republican areas shows how far our party has come in the last three years, and how well the investments we have made in building our state and county parties are paying off.
The level of sustained activism and interest in politics we’re seeing among our residents is making our state better, and we will continue to work closely with these emerging leaders to make New Jersey stronger and fairer next year and beyond.
The work of moving our state and our nation forward doesn’t end now — it’s just beginning, and we’ll keep doing it together. 2020 was a great year for New Jersey Democrats — 2021 is looking even brighter.
Governor Phil Murphy