Elections took place on Tuesday night. Across the entire country, voters headed to the polls to decide a number of different seats that varied from state to state. In New Jersey, all of the State Senate and Assembly seats were up for election. County and Board of Education elections took place in several municipalities as well.
School Board races, in particular, have been a hot topic this election season, as ideological differences among parents have created a sharp rift in what they believe students should be taught in schools.
The Democratic party will hold onto control of NJ for the time being—gaining five seats in the process.
New Jersey tends to be a Democratic stronghold, but historically speaking, their chances for this election were at least slightly lower than state legislative midterms of the past. When a party controls the White House and the Governor seat (Joe Biden and Phil Murphy), their chances slim during the state midterm. Many pundits expected Democrats to do well, but many did not see the five-seat gain as a possibility.
New Jersey Globe reports that in two closely contested South Jersey districts, Democrats came out on top. In the 3rd district, former Assemblyman John Burzichelli defeated incumbent Republican State Senator Ed Durr, who had previously shocked the political landscape by unseating Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney in 2021. With 53 percent of the vote, Burzichelli not only reclaimed the Senate seat but also helped Democrats secure control of both Assembly seats in the district.
In the 4th district, which was redrawn on the state’s new legislative map to be more competitive, Assemblyman Paul Moriarty retained his seat and won the Senate race against Republican Chris Del Borrello—who many expected could perform an upset.
It wasn’t all Democratic wins, though. Despite significant financial backing for South Jersey Democrats, Republicans successfully defended their strongholds in the 2nd district of Atlantic County and the 8th district of Burlington County. State Senator Vince Polistina secured another term in the Senate, while former Burlington County Freeholder Latham Tiver secured his first Senate term. Republicans made significant gains at the county level, too, flipping five county offices in Cumberland County.
Governor Phil Murphy has a lot to celebrate following this election. With two years left on his second term, Murphy can be written as a Democratic powerhouse in NJ. Moreover, Tammy Murphy—Governor Murphy’s wife—plans on running for the US Senate. Tuesday night’s wins improve her odds against Senate hopeful Andy Kim.
New Jersey Election Results
Following the 2023 NJ election, the makeup of New Jersey’s Legislature looks as follows: Democrats hold the State Senate at a margin of 25 seats to Republican’s 15. While in the State Assembly, Democrats have a substantial lead of 47 seats to the GOP’s 27. The Governor seat was not up for grabs and remains Democratic. This means Democrats, again, pulled off a trifecta.
New Jersey Globe has the full map of NJ Election results here.
What Does the 2023 Election Tell Us?
Across the country, Democrats had yet another strong election. During last year’s Midterms, history told us that Democrats would fumble total control in the Senate and the House. Instead, they held onto the Senate and only narrowly lost the House. 2023 results across the country proved to look similar.
Many Democratic and Republican voters alike expected liberals to lose control in key spots across the county. Many conservatives cite the Democratic party moving too far to the left, while many liberal voters even expected Joe Biden’s age to have an effect on the party’s performance as a whole.
However, as Republicans are left scratching their heads in the wake of another disappointing performance, many point to the party’s focus on unpopular policy as the reason for their lacking results. Republicans took on abortion as a key issue in 2022 when Roe V. Wade was overturned, with many state-level Republicans across the country introducing measures to heavily restrict abortion access, or outright ban it. On Tuesday, Ohio passed a measure to enshrine abortion access into their state constitution—voting against the policy of a majority of the Ohio Republican Party.
In many of the same areas, GOP politicians took on unpopular positions regarding LGBT topics—with several Republicans pledging to ban things like gender-affirming care.
These issues—while hot topics—have proved to not be the part of a winning formula for the GOP. With the 2024 Presidential Election about a year away, many analysts think that Republicans must adopt a new tactic if they want any shot at winning. But, the opinion on this is divided, with many pundits believing Joe Biden’s chances at re-election are equally as low due to age and ability.
But, that begs the questions: Who will Biden’s opponent even be? Do Tuesday night’s results across the country have any implications on 2024? Or, was it a one-off election?
We will just have to wait and see.
About the Author/s
Peter Candia is the Food + Drink Editor at New Jersey Digest. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Peter found a passion for writing midway through school and never looked back. He is a former line cook, server and bartender at top-rated restaurants in the tri-state area. In addition to food, Peter enjoys politics, music, sports and anything New Jersey.