TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – New Jersey voters on Tuesday delivered three Republican-controlled House seats to Democrats, ousting a Republican incumbent and converting two open GOP-held seats to Democratic control.
Their victories mean Democrats have picked up at least three new seats in New Jersey, where another closely watched race has not yet been called. Democrats had controlled seven seats to Republicans’ five.
Democrat Tom Malinowski, a former state department official under President Barack Obama, defeated five-term GOP incumbent Leonard Lance in the 7th District. Mikie Sherrill, a veteran and one-time prosecutor, won in the 12th District over Republican Assemblyman Jay Webber after Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen announced his retirement. Democratic state Sen. Jeff Van Drew won in the 2nd District over Republican Donald Trump ally Seth Grossman, after Rep. Frank LoBiondo retired.
Sherrill’s victory, along with Democratic incumbent Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman’s win in the 12th District means New Jersey will have two women representing it in the House for the first time since 1982, when Millicent Fenwick and Marge Roukema served briefly together.
Frelinghuysen and LoBiondo are retiring after 12 terms.
Sherrill, who graduated from the Naval Academy and flew Sea King helicopters in the Navy, and later served as a federal prosecutor in New Jersey, has not held or sought office before.
She built a massive campaign war chest and outspent Webber.
The district has been a GOP stronghold but just narrowly voted for President Donald Trump in 2016.
In the 7th District, Democrat Hillary Clinton narrowly won in 2016 over Republican President Donald Trump.
Lance highlighted how he was different from Trump, who is mostly unpopular in New Jersey, and focused on his membership in a bipartisan caucus.
But Malinowski said Lance failed to stop fellow Republicans from enacting proposals that he and many New Jersey residents opposed, like the 2017 tax overhaul.
Sherrill campaigned on undoing the 2017 federal tax overhaul’s cap on state and local tax deductions and stressed her support for health care for everyone.
Webber, who had Trump’s Twitter endorsement, ran as a conservative backer of the president.
Watson Coleman was elected to her third term over Republican Daryl Kipnis.
Van Drew had a conservative voting record in the Democrat-led state Senate and has served in the Legislature since 2002. Grossman is an attorney and former Atlantic City councilman and Atlantic County officeholder. He said he was running to help Trump in Congress.
Elsewhere, incumbents in New Jersey had a good night. Seven congressmen won re-election in New Jersey.
Three-term Democratic incumbent Rep. Donald Norcross defeated Republican challenger Paul Dilks in southern New Jersey’s 1st District.
Republican Chris Smith defeated Democratic Navy veteran Josh Welle to win a 20th term in central and coastal New Jersey’s 4th District.
Democrat Frank Pallone was re-elected to a 16th term against Republican Richard Pezzullo in the 6th District.
Democratic incumbent Albio Sires beat Republican John Muniz in 8th District. It will be Sires’ eighth term.
In the 10th District, Democratic Rep. Donald Payne Jr. defeated Republican Agha Khan to win a fifth term.
Nearly all of New Jersey’s voters casting midterm election ballots said deciding who controls Congress played a role in their decision, according to a wide-ranging survey of the American electorate.
AP VoteCast found most said that Trump was a factor in their vote while a majority also said the country is headed in the wrong direction.
AP VoteCast, surveyed 3,821 voters and 667 nonvoters in the state of New Jersey and was conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.
For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics