The results are in: Democrat Cory Booker is now Senator-elect, defeating underdog Republican former mayor Steve Lonegan fifty-five to forty-four percent. The vote retains the seat for the Democrats, continuing the now decades-long streak of Democratic control of the New Jersey United States Senate elections.
Lonegan had strong support in many of the less-populated regions, taking Ocean, Sussex, and Warren Counties by above thirty percentage points, Cape May and Salem by near twenty, with a thirteen point lead in Morris and nine in Monmouth. He also squeaked out a one-point-three point lead in Somerset County, a total of nine of New Jersey's twenty-one counties. However, Booker took the most populous Bergen County by a fourteen percentage point lead, and swept his home county, the second most populous Essex, with a 57 point lead, and took a similar lead in Hudson County, also cleanly taking Mercer (near thirty-five points), Camden and Union (near twenty-nine points, plus and minus), Passaic (nineteen), Middlesex (almost seventeen), and Burlington (ten). He took Cumberland County by slightly less than three percentage points, and led in Gloucester County by less than one percent. Booker's lead in Essex County alone (sixty-five thousand votes) accounts for nearly half of his one hundred thirty-four thousand vote margin, and in the end the more urban and mostly northern counties turned the tide his direction.
New Jersey thus sends its first black Senator to the Senate, and should be commended in that race never seemed to be at issue in the campaign until after he won--racism is still nascent as long as the fact that someone is black is newsworthy.
Lonegan did remarkably well, whittling down Booker's lead to a fraction of what it was at the beginning of the race. He is said to be returning to private business, but we may see him again at some point as he beat back overwhelming odds to the point that some thought he created a chance of winning.
Best of grace to Senator Cory Booker; may he represent all of New Jersey in the year ahead.