No Surprises in Primary Election

June 11, 2017
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Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno reacts to winning Republican nomination for the governor’s race on Tuesday.

By John Burton |

There were no surprises on Tuesday. This year’s primary election found those up and down the ballot who were predicted to win, winning, mostly by safe margins.

From the governor’s race for respective parties, to a local state Senate candidates’ competition, on to a challenge for the Republican nomination for county freeholders’ seats, the establishment candidates secured their places on the November ballot.

This year’s governor’s race will be a Monmouth County-centered one, as both candidates call the county home. Frontrunner Philip Murphy, a Middletown resident, won approximately 50 percent of the Democratic vote cast statewide June 6. In Monmouth County, Murphy won a solid 12,886 of votes from the party faithful, according to unofficial totals offered by the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office. His next closest competitor was Middlesex County Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who garnered 8,909 votes.

Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive who hasn’t held elected office spent an estimated $13 million of his own fortune running for the nomination. Offering a victory speech in Newark Tuesday night, his comments clearly revealed the issues that would be raised during this campaign. “Today, you helped send a message that progressives and working New Jerseyans are united to end the failed status quo in Trenton and fight back against President Trump in Washington,” Murphy said.

In West Long Branch, Monmouth Beach resident and Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno basked in her victory. At her victory party, held at Branches catering facility, Guadagno vowed to “run on my record” and “on my principles,” striving to help working families and small businesses – and apparently looking to continue to distance herself from her boss, Gov. Chris Christie, whose approval rating continues to hover at 18 percent, the lowest of any sitting governor in the country. Guadagno did not mention Christie during her roughly half-hour speech.

Dancing In The Dairy Aisle

She vowed to lower taxes, offering the bargain “If we do not lower taxes in New Jersey in my term I will not stand for re-election.”

Guadagno, like Murphy, won about 50 percent of the statewide party vote and received 12,741 votes from fellow Monmouth County Republicans. Her next closest challenge came from state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, Somerset County, who ran a fierce, competitive campaign, and won 4,630 votes, based upon unofficial totals Wednesday.

On the local level, incumbent Republican Freeholder Lillian Burry and running mate, Holmdel’s Pat Impreveduto had been facing a challenge to run for the two seats this year for the five-member Board of Chosen Freeholders. Challengers Bernard Dowd and Susan S. Metz were the candidates who shared the Ciattarelli ticket in Monmouth County. However, Dowd and Metz won 6,266 and 5,969, respectively, falling short of Burry’s 12,519 and Impreveduto’s 12,508 totals.

For the lone primary challenge for the Legislative race in the Two River Area, Democrat Sean Byrnes, Middletown, won the party’s nomination by a strong 7,247 votes. Byrnes was challenged by Atlantic Highlands resident Joshua Leinsdorf, who won 566 votes.

This article was first published in the June 8-June 15, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.

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