Contributed by Olga Vanucci.
2021 is a big election year! Wait, what? 2021? Yes, it’s a big election year in New Jersey, where the Governor and the entire Legislature are up for election.
NJ Spotlight News provides an overview of what to look for: Get ready for a busy election year in New Jersey | NJ Spotlight News. Here are the highlights:
Governor Murphy is popular. The most recent poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University in mid-October showed Murphy with a 60% approval rating overall and 72% support for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One major obstacle that the GOP nominee, whoever that will be, will have to overcome is the Democrats’ huge voter registration advantage — registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by more than 1 million.
Locally, a competitive race is likely in one of the two purple districts in the state, the 16th, encompassing parts of Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset counties. The senator is a moderate Republican and the two Assembly members are Democrats. Both Democratic Assembly members in the 16th, Andrew Zwicker and Roy Freiman, are rumored to be interested in challenging Republican incumbent Christopher “Kip” Bateman for the Senate in a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 20,000 but a plurality of voters is unaffiliated. According to New Jersey State Senate District 16 – Ballotpedia, Kip Bateman won the election for State Senate in 2013 by nearly 12,000 votes, but he won in 2017 by only 574 votes.
Most likely, new legislative districts will not be in place for this year’s elections after voters passed a constitutional amendment in 2020 delaying the use of newly drawn districts until the 2023 elections if the state does not get its official 2020 census counts by Feb. 15. Given delays caused by the pandemic, and a potential challenge to the count should it not include the number of undocumented immigrants, it is unlikely the state will get its population estimates by that date.