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Democrats Stand Fast in Senate, Lose Two Seats in Lower Chamber

Ranking third-most expensive was the 14th, where, according to ELEC, the candidates raised $2.7 million and spent $2.5 million. Democratic incumbents, Sen. Linda Greenstein and Assemblymen Wayne DeAngelo and Daniel Benson, had no trouble winning re-election two years ago. In 2011, Greenstein faced Richard Kanka, known for his advocacy of Megan’s Law after his daughter was killed by a convicted pedophile. This time around, though, former Sen. Peter Inverso, sought to retake the seat he had held for 16 years. This time, the results were tight for Greenstein, in particular, but she, Benson and DeAngelo all won.

Another district not normally in play was the 18th, where the Democrats’ hold on gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono’s open Senate seat was in doubt as East Brunswick Mayor David Stahl switched parties to run as a Republican against Assemblyman Peter Barnes, looking to take Buono’s place. That also left open Barnes’ seat, for which the Democrats nominated Nancy Pinkin, an East Brunswick councilwoman. Barnes won with 52 percent of the votes. Pinkin and Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan also won, by even larger margins.

The 1st District race for one Assembly seat was close in 2011, with Democrat Matthew Milam beating Fiocchi by less than 1,000 votes. Milam resigned, replaced by Bob Andrzejczak. Fiocchi was back as part of the team, hammering at the entire blue ticket over Albano’s ethics investigation. Albano appeared to be the only casualty in this district that is always a contest due to its unique circumstances -- Republican voters outnumber Democrats, yet the Democrats hold all the seats.

Another district always in play is the 7th, which is the only district beside the 2nd with split representation. Democrats hold a decided voter registration advantage, as well as the two Assembly seats. But Sen. Diane Allen, a moderate Republican known to buck her party -- she voted with the Democrats in support of same-sex marriage -- has been in office for 15 years and won by a comfortable margin last time, even outpolling Democratic Assembly candidates Herb Conaway and Troy Singleton. All three incumbents won easily.

Over the past three weeks, an unexpected battleground had emerged in the 16th district. It was the only race where Republican incumbents were being “forced to play defense,” Dworkin said. The district has a sizable Democratic base, but has been a Republican stronghold for a long time. He said it was only in the aftermath of the government shutdown that polling began to tighten. Democrat Marie Corfield fared best of the Democrats, but still lost by almost 5,000 votes.

Unofficial legislative results as of 8 pm today.

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