UPDATED 6:21 AM PT — Wed. June 6, 2018
The results are in for New Jersey’s June 5 primary, with several Republican-held districts expected to be in play come November.
After an unexpectedly difficult race, incumbent Bob Menendez will face-off another Bob for Senate — Republican Bob Hugin.
“New Jersey deserves a senator as good as its people,” stated Hugin. “Not one who’s greatest accomplishment is staying one step ahead of the law.”
Although Menendez won the Democrat primary, the results show him in a weak position as incumbent senators rarely dip below two-thirds of the vote in primaries.
Lisa McCormick, an unknown outsider with few campaign funds and zero-endorsements or campaign appearances, received 40-percent of the vote and each one was in protest of Menendez.
“I got my ballot at home, and I took one look at it, and thought the choice was between bad and worse, and I decided it was my time to put my name on the ballot and do something about it,” explained Menendez. “It’s not enough to complain about the world, we have to get involved.”
This comes after the long-time senator has faced legal troubles this year over bribery charges.
After the rebuke from voters in the deep blue state, a competitive race against pharmaceutical CEO Hugin is likely in November, who has signaled he plans to run an aggressive campaign.
Meanwhile, Democrats did fare better in House primaries, where each of their preferred candidates often won over far-left candidates endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders.
In an effort to flip the House, liberals are targeting all five Republican-held seats in New Jersey, but only four of them are expected to be competitive.
In District Two, conservative Democrat Jeff Van Drew and Republican Seth Grossman will face each other to replace retiring Republican Frank Lobiondo, who held the seat for 24-years.
In the most Republican district in the Garden State Democrat U.S. Navy veteran Joshua Welle still thinks he has a chance against Representative Chris Smith in the midterms.
In District Five, Republicans are on offense after Democrat Josh Gottheimer squeaked to a win in 2016, and now could be replaced by John McCann.
In District Seven where Hillary Clinton won by one-percentage point, Democrats believe they have a chance to beat incumbent Leonard Lance with their own candidate and former State Department official Tom Malinowski in November.
Democrats are playing defense in District 11 after a longtime representative chose to retire from a wealthy district that went to President Trump. Republicans hope their candidate Jay Webber can rally those Trump voters against Democrat Mikie Sherill to flip the district.
“I’m just looking to provide new leadership in Washington,” said Sherill. “To think about what we can do for the future in this country and how we’re gonna fight hard for families here in New Jersey.”
These five districts will be the most competitive races in November as Republicans and Democrats vie to hold the House, and as Senator Menendez runs to keep his seat.