Dems in NJ win 11 of 12 House seats: Andy Kim defeats pro-Trump congressman
More than two weeks after Election Day, the closest congressional race in New Jersey has been decided in favor of a Democratic challenger against a two-term pro-Trump Republican lawmaker.
The win gives Democrats in New Jersey 11 seats in the House of Representatives along with two U.S. Senators. Robert Menendez, the state's senior senator, won re-election as Democratic challengers flipped four House races in the state, helping solidify the Democratic takeover of the House.
Republicans in New Jersey now have just a single congressman: Chris Smith in the 4th District.
Andy Kim had declared victory the day after the election when ballot counting gave him a 2,600-vote edge over U.S. Rep Tom MacArthur, who had led by that much on Election night. MacArthur refused to concede, hopeful that thousands of uncounted votes in Ocean County could tip the 3rd District results in his favor.
News organizations held off on calling the race. But Kim's lead this week grew to 3,400 votes. Most of the 6,700 provisional ballots yet to be counted are from Burlington County, which is expected to favor Kim. The Associated Press called the race Wednesday.
Kim joined other Democratic congressmen and congressmen-elect Wednesday in the office of U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J. 6th District, to discuss their legislative priorities.
Kim was bolstered by votes in his Democratic-leaning home county of Burlington, which gave him 101,903 votes to MacArthur's 69,090, according to earlier vote totals.
Ocean County, a GOP stronghold, gave MacArthur 76,868 votes to Kim's 46,677.
In total, Kim had 49.8 percent to MacArthur's 48.9. A third-party candidate, Lawrence Berlinski, got 3,815.
The South Jersey and Shore district has been in Republican hands since 2011.
Elsewhere in the state, Democrat Tom Malinowski defeated Congressman Leonard Lance in the 7th District. Democratic state Sen. Jeff Van Drew defeated Seth Grossman for a seat vacated by retiring Republican U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo. In the 11th District, Republican U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen also retired — paving the way for Democrat Mikie Sherrill to defeat Republican state Assemblyman Jay Webber.
Kim, who lives with his wife and two young children in the Marlton section of Evesham, ran on a platform of opposing MacArthur's support of President Donald Trump's campaign to eliminate Obamacare. MacArthur authored an amendment to a law that critics said would have weakened insurance protections for people with preexisting medical conditions.
MacArthur also was the only New Jersey congressman, Democrat or Republican, to support the Republicans' tax reform, which capped state and local tax deductions at $10,000 — a provision that will hurt residents of wealthy, high-tax states like New Jersey.
MacArthur, a former pharmaceutical executive who once served as mayor of Randolph in North Jersey before he moved south, ran on a record of supporting gun restrictions and immigration reform. His campaign also accused Kim of inflating his resume.
Kim served as the National Security Council’s director for Iraq under President Obama and served as an advisor Gen. David Petraeus and Gen. John Allen in Afghanistan.
MacArthur won his previous two congressional elections with solid margins. In 2016, he had more than 59 percent of the vote. In 2014, he had more than 53 percent.
Each campaign raised and spent millions. According to figures from October, MacArthur had raised $4.4 million while Kim had raised $5.2 million.