Democrats close to knocking out GOP in these too-close NJ races
The 2nd Congressional District race between Republican incumbent Jeff Van Drew and Democrat Amy Kennedy may be the highest-profile nail-biter race in the state but it's not the only one too close to call a winner.
Counting votes in this year's mostly vote-by-mail election has been a slower than normal process. County election boards are accepting mail- in ballots until Tuesday, which is when counties will begin opening and counting provisional ballots cast on election day. The county boards have until Nov. 23 to certify their results.
Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday said that more than 4 million voters may have voted in the election, the most in the state's history.
"We're trying to do as many as quickly as possible and as accurately as possible. The count is paramount," Somerset County spokesman Nathan Rudy told New Jersey 101.5.
Van Drew, a fresman congressman who got elected as a Democrat but switched allegiance to President Donald Trump to protest his impeachment, continues to lead Kennedy by 9,452 votes. Van Drew claimed victory in the race on Election Day night but Kennedy did not concede, with her campaign noting that they expected more votes to be counted in her favor in Democratic leaning Cumberland and Atlantic counties.
One of the closet local races is for two seats on the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders. Each of the four candidates have a quarter of the total vote. Republicans Lillian Burry (25.19%) and running mate Ross Licitra (25.39%) lead Democrats Michael Penna (24.84%) and Moira Nelson (25.54%). Burry has held her seat since 2006 but could lose if Democrats make inroads into a government that has been safely in Republican hands.
As of Thursday morning 66% of the mail-in ballots had been processed, according to the county clerk's website. Late mail-in ballots, machine votes cast by disabled voters and provisional ballots have yet to be counted.
The only state legislative race was in North Jersey, where state Sen. Anthony M. Bucco was asking voters to cement the inheritance of the seat from his late father. But his Democratic challenger, Rupande Mehta, maintained a slim percentage-point lead on Wednesday.
Democratic Assembly candidate Darcy Draeger was also leading Republican Aura Dunn 52%-47% in the same district.
The district in Morris County and Somerset County's Bernardsville had long been considered safely Republican but Democrat Joe Biden is carrying both counties with votes counted so far. Riding Biden's coattails might be Democratic freeholder candidate Cary Amaro, who would become the first Democrat on the freeholder board in decades.
In once-red Somerset County, Democrats are poised to complete their total takeover of county-level government by filling the last two freeholder seats and the county surrogate's office.
In Atlantic County, 554 incorrect ballots sent to residents in Hamilton will likely lead to a runoff in the 3rd District freeholder race, Atlantic County Republican Chairman Keith Davis told The Press of Atlantic City.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ