For the sixth presidential election in a row, New Jersey voted for the Democratic candidate. As a state in which registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by over 700,000, President Obama’s victory comes as no surprise in the Garden State. Accordingly, incumbent Senator Robert Menendez (D) defeated Republican challenger Joe Kyrillos and won his second term as senator.
Kyrillos, a 25-year lawmaker in Trenton, raised about $5 million for his campaign. Menendez, however, far outraised him with at least $11.3 million in cash. The last time Republicans won a senate seat in New Jersey was in 1972. The GOP will have another opportunity in two years when Sen. Frank Lautenberg is up for re-election.
The bigger story for the state of New Jersey was the damage ravaged on the state after Hurricane Sandy and the difficulty encountered by voters. Although it was clear that Obama and Menendez would win in New Jersey, the fact that e-mail voting and confusion regarding polling places prevented individuals to vote put a strain on the election. The e-mail ballots were all submitted to the clerk’s offices at the same time, and required individual responses. Likewise, the county offices were flooded and were unable to handle the multitude of requests. Some sources even called voting in New Jersey a “catastrophe.”
The ACLU filed a lawsuit asking for the use of federal absentee ballots for those that experienced voter problems. Judge Walter Koprowski Jr. in Newark denied this motion, as he believed that the directive issued by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno that allowed for mail in ballots to be accepted until Friday was satisfactory.
New Jersey’s choices in this election were clear. Unfortunately, the means of making the choice in 2012 was not.