On Tuesday, New Jersey residents hit the polls to vote in the state elections. Within one minute of polling sites’ 8 p.m. closing, Democrat Phil Murphy was projected as the winner in the race for governor. Murphy is a former Goldman Sachs executive, ambassador to Germany, and finance chairman of Democratic National Convention. Murphy received 56 percent of the vote with 1,165,001 ballots cast in his favor. GOP runner-up Kim Guadagno, the current lieutenant governor of New Jersey, received 42 percent of the vote with 885,387 ballots cast in her favor.
The Whig-Cliosophic Society hosted a watch party for the elections in the basement of Whig Hall. President Rebekah Ninan ’19, who organized the event, said that many of the students in attendance expected Murphy to win.
“The first thing that was announced was Phil Murphy’s win, which was relatively expected,” Ninan said. “Even though [Whig-Clio] did have events around voter registration earlier in the year, ultimately we didn’t get too much traction from New Jersey students particularly because I don’t think students felt as much of an urgency. There were several New Jersey students in the audience though who came for the ceremonial aspect of seeing the election results come in, but for the most part no one was particularly surprised.”
All 80 seats in the state General Assembly were also on the ballot. Princeton falls in the 16th Legislative District, where Andrew Zwicker and Roy Freiman, both Democrats, defeated Republican candidates Donna Simon and Mark Caliguire in one of the most hotly contested races in New Jersey. The 16th district has historically been held by Republicans, until last election when Zwicker, former head of science education at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, , thus splitting control of the district’s two Assembly seats. With last night’s win, the district will become Democratically held for the first time ever in its 42-year history.
Along with the gubernatorial and legislative elections, all 40 seats in the state Senate were up for election. Democrats took the Senate majority, winning 25 of the 40 seats. In the 16th district, however, Republican incumbent Christopher “Kip” Bateman narrowly maintained his seat by winning 51% of the vote.
In Mercer County, Democrats swept the ballot. Democratic candidate John “Jack” Kemler earned his three-year term as Sheriff with 54,756 votes, more than double Republican candidate Charles Farina’s 23,776 votes. In the race for county freeholder, Democrats Lucylle Walter and John Cimino were elected over Republicans Jeff Hewitson and Michelle Noone.
New Jersey residents also voted in favor of a ballot initiative that would allow the state to borrow $125 million to modernize and expand public libraries, along with with a ballot initiative that prevents lawmakers from diverting funds earmarked for environmental cleanups to balance the state budget.
Some students who voted in the election said that they chose to do so in order to express their political opinions.
Samuel Russell ’18 said that the election was a referendum on Trump.
“We shouldn’t have been too surprised by the results because of his high unfavorability rating and polling indicating wide leads for Democrats,” Russell said.
“I think it’s good to get your voice out there and actually cause some influence on what the government is doing,” said Nick Sum ’21, a first-time voter. “It makes the government listen to you and your voice if you vote.”