What do the NJ primary election results mean for your family? (Opinion)
The dust is still settling on the 2022 primary election, but there are some key takeaways.
It seems, although final numbers are still being counted, the turnout was relatively high for a midterm election in certain parts of New Jersey.
In Ocean County, 28% of GOP, and in Morris County where several congressional races were hotly contested, nearly 14% of all registered voters cast a ballot. One town, Rockaway, saw voter participation surge past 20%.
This is good news considering the turnout in the last statewide election was only 40% and the four years prior only 39%.
The bigger takeaway is the increase in newly registered voters and the gap between participation and registration which is growing higher.
We had a couple of big wins and upsets in the making on Tuesday night.
First of all, incumbent Morris County Commissioner Tom Mastrangelo won re-election despite being dumped from the "county line". He showed that issues matter more than back-room politics. Perhaps the best part is that some of the worst back-room dealers tried to crush him and he persevered.
Along the same lines, my friend Paul DeGroot is headed toward the winner's circle with nearly 80% of the vote tallied as he holds onto a four-point lead. The best part of the DeGroot story is that he took on the insider favorite who was propped up by the same insiders who have been hurting the party and excluding new people for decades.
If the results hold, Paul has a great shot at taking out one of the strongest Democrats in the House from NJ, Mikie Sherrill. Sherrill is a very likely candidate for governor in 2025, so we'll be watching this race closely.
In another close race where votes are still outstanding, it was a battle between Bergen and Passaic counties in the 5th Congressional district, between former combat Marine Nick DeGregorio and last cycle's challenger to the incumbent, Frank Pallotta.
Nick is ahead in Bergen showing the strength of the county line and Pallotta is ahead in Passaic showing the effectiveness of the Democrats' effort to promote him as the "Trump" candidate. Interesting for sure and the votes are still being counted.
In Central Jersey, the 7th District nomination went to Tom Kean Jr. but he only garnered 45% of the vote.
With 55% of GOP primary voters voting against the establishment's hand-picked guy, it clearly shows an opportunity for outsiders.
Also shows that there was a push from unaffiliated voters declaring Republicans to vote for outsider candidates. This time there were simply too many. Had the "outsiders" put aside their ego and rallied behind the effective message and fundraising of the guy who came in second, Phil Rizzo, things would be different.
Let me say this, the door is open to a strong opposition effort based on common sense ideas and policies to help NJ working and middle-class families get ahead.
The make-up of our congressional team is not going to have a huge impact on those policies. But the make-up of our state Senate and Assembly will have a DIRECT impact on the cost of living in the Garden State.
In 2023 and then again in 2025, stay tuned to what we're doing to help good candidates who support practical policies to support families and small businesses. As the opposition to the elites continues to organize under an umbrella of "common sense," tens of thousands of New Jersyans are finding their voice.
The fight to turn the Garden State around has just begun.
Learn more about what's going on in our state.
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The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.