In getting roughly 6 of every 10 votes cast for a Democrat in yesterday’s special U.S. Senate primary, Newark Mayor Cory Booker won all but three New Jersey counties and won all but six counties outright, with his greatest support in the north and south.
Only in a band stretching across the state from Warren County down to Ocean did Booker not take at least 50 percent of the vote. He lost outright in Hunterdon and Mercer, which are represented in large part by one opponent, U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-12th) and also in Monmouth, the home county of Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th) who finished second yesterday with 20 percent of the vote. (A detailed look at county-by-county results is available on the interactive map.)
In the Republican primary, former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan dominated opponent Dr. Alieta Eck in every county, including her home of Somerset, where she got the greatest percentage of the vote -- almost 36 percent. Lonegan got 79 percent of the vote overall and took almost 92 percent of the vote in Salem County, where Eck had fewer than 100 votes.
Proportionally fewer registered Republicans went to the polls yesterday, according to an analysis of preliminary incomplete results from the county clerks. Roughly 11.5 percent of registered Republicans, or about 125,000 people, voted in the unique August primary. That’s the second-smallest number of GOP voters for a primary between 1993 and 2010, with data for 2011-2013 not posted by the New Jersey Division of Elections. Only in the 1999 primary, when Assembly seats topped the ballot, did fewer Republicans vote.
Both Lonegan and Eck ran as conservatives and neither spent much money.
The Democrats, on the other hand, had four candidates, and while all shared similar progressive beliefs, they spent a lot more as a group, and the presence of the well-known Booker seemed to bring more excitement to the race. At least 350,000 registered Democrats voted -- that number will likely be higher since Camden had only reported results for 82 percent of its precincts and Essex for 92 percent as of late last night and both are Democratic strongholds. That’s higher than in 13 of 18 primaries held between 1993 and 2010. Almost 20 percent of Democrats voted.
Election results by county
Overall, though, the turnout appears to be a low 8.7 percent of 5.48 million registered; while unaffiliated voters can cast ballots in a primary by declaring a party affiliation, the majority choose not to do so. About 47 percent of all those registered to vote in the state, or almost 2.6 million, are unaffiliated.
About 475,000 New Jerseyans cast ballots, including at least 12,724 by mail in advance of the primary, with that number likely to rise since at least nine counties did not report any vote-by-mail turnout. That would mean the state, which has pledged to cover all “reasonable and necessary expenses” for the controversial election, is paying about $25.22 per vote. The total cost of the election was estimated by the state nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services at $12 million.