Kim Declares Victory in 3rd District Congressional Race

But MacArthur Has Not Yet Conceded
Nov 08, 2018
File Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Democrat Andy Kim declared himself the winner of New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District race on Wednesday.

“Now that the vast majority of the remaining votes have been counted, it’s clear that our campaign has built an insurmountable lead and we have won this hard-fought race,” said Kim in a statement. “There is a tremendous amount of work to be done, from expanding access to affordable health care, to working across the aisle, to creating jobs, and lowering taxes for New Jersey families. I am excited to get to work and am truly honored to serve as the next member of Congress from New Jersey’s Third Congressional District.”

Not so fast, said his Republican opponent, two-term incumbent Tom MacArthur.

“This has been a hard-fought campaign and like Andy Kim, I’m ready to see it come to an end. I have always said I will be guided by the voices of the district and there are nearly 7,000 more of them who hadn’t been heard from yet. We must ensure that their votes – and all votes – are counted in a transparent way that protects the integrity of this election.”

As of Thursday Kim had earned the support of 49.8 percent of the district’s voters with 148,580 recorded votes. MacArthur had garnered 145,958, or 48.9 percent.

A little-known third candidate, Lawrence Berlinski of the Constitution Party, a national party founded in 1991, drew 3,815 votes, or 1.3 percent. The Constitution Party’s platform is based on originalist interpretations of the Constitution and shaped by principles that it finds set forth in the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, Constitution and the Bible. Berlinski – shades of Ralph Nader’s Green Party run in the 2000 Presidential Election in Florida – likely took votes away from MacArthur just as Nader had from Al Gore, tipping the election toward Kim, just as Nader’s effort had tipped Florida to George W. Bush.

It was a race of two counties. At the end of Election Day night MacArthur had a slim lead, 136,408 to Kim’s 134,093. But the incumbent didn’t make a statement in front of a gathering of supporters at the Days Hotel in Toms River. It is likely MacArthur knew most of the still-outstanding votes at that time came from Burlington County and Burlington County had not been kind to him.

Early results came in from Ocean Count,y and they gave MacArthur a huge lead. When the smoke had cleared, Ocean County – a GOP stronghold since the days of Lincoln – had given MacArthur 76,868, or 60.91 percent, of the vote to Kim’s 46,677, or 36.99 percent. Berlinkski had 2,595 votes, or 2.06 percent. There were also 49 write-ins.

But Burlington County, a much more suburban portion of the district with more registered Democrats than Republicans, gave 101,903 votes to Kim while MacArthur was able to earn only 69,090.

The holdup in election reporting came from Burlington County. Ocean County had counted mail-in ballots that had arrived by Election Day in with the votes cast by machine. Burlington County waited until all of the machine ballots had been tabulated before starting to count the vote-by-mail ballots. Indeed, as of Thursday, 2 percent of Burlington County’s votes still hadn’t been reported.

Still, if the preference for Kim in that county is any indication, he would seem to be in the clear.

Both counties still have to deal with provisional ballots and vote-by-mail ballots that arrive in the mail on Thursday, so a certification of the election should not be expected until next week. But MacArthur’s chances of making up the difference are slim.

The 3rd District is made up of 36 Burlington County municipalities and all or part of 17 Ocean County municipalities, including the western half of Stafford Township and all of Barnegat Township.

Democrat Jeff Van Drew won the 2nd District race over Republican Seth Grossman to replace retiring longtime GOP Rep. Frank LoBiondo. Van Drew garnered 125,783 votes, or 52.2 percent, while Grossman attracted 110, 542 votes, or 45.9 percent. Independent John Ordille earned 1,631 votes, or 0.7 percent.

New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District is made up of all or parts of eight South Jersey counties including all of Southern Ocean County excepting the western half of Stafford Township and all of Barnegat Township.

Ocean County went overwhelmingly for Grossman, with the Republican tallying 10,952, or 60.32 percent, to Van Drew’s 6,962, or 38.34 percent.

— Rick Mellerup

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