New Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries

New Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries
© Bonnie Cash

Incumbent Democrats in New Jersey trounced progressive challengers across House primaries Tuesday, two weeks after liberals appeared likely to have scored key victories in still undecided races in neighboring New York. 

Lawmakers in all primaries were either leading their challengers by substantial margins or outright clinched the Democratic nomination in their races Tuesday night despite a surge in mailed-in ballots that will continue to be accepted until next week.

The easy wins marked a contrast to New York, where progressive Jamaal Bowman was leading Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelHuffPost reporter discusses progressives' successful showing on Tuesday Ex-USAID employee apologizes, denies sending explosive tweets Progressives soaring after big primary night MORE (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, by 25 points in an election that is still to be called. Meanwhile, Rep. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyUS could avoid 4.5M early deaths by fighting climate change, study finds Carolyn Maloney defeats Suraj Patel to win New York primary: AP Maloney, Torres declare victory in NY primary races after weeks of delays MORE (D), chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, was running neck-and-neck with Democratic challenger Suraj Patel.

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By contrast, no challenger got close in New Jersey.

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package Ex-USAID employee apologizes, denies sending explosive tweets MORE (D), who dropped out of the presidential race last year, easily dispatched progressive activist Lawrence Hamm, holding a nearly 80-point lead with over 32 percent of precincts reporting.

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee who had earned the ire of progressives over his refusal to embrace the Green New Deal, defeated Russ Cirincione, a government attorney, and Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, an author who runs MuslimGirl.com.

Meanwhile, Rep. Albio SiresAlbio B. SiresWe can't lose sight of Ortega's abuses in Nicaragua Hispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell wins Democratic primary MORE (D), who raised eyebrows by going negative against his progressive challenger Hector Oseguera, won with 76 percent of the vote, while Rep. Bonnie Watson ColemanBonnie Watson ColemanNew Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman wins Democratic primary The Hill's Campaign Report: Primary Day in New Jersey MORE (D) easily prevailed in the 12th District.

A couple of races remained uncalled as of midnight on Wednesday, though in both cases the incumbents had built substantial leads, with Rep. Bill PascrellWilliam (Bill) James PascrellLawmakers urge administration to remove tariffs on European wine and spirits amid coronavirus pandemic The Hill's Campaign Report: Florida's coronavirus surge raises questions about GOP convention New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell wins Democratic primary MORE (D) leading by about 70 points and Rep. Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Florida's coronavirus surge raises questions about GOP convention New Jersey Rep. Gottheimer wins House primary New Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries MORE (D) leading by nearly 40 points.

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The two Republicans in New Jersey's House delegation also easily fended off their challengers.

Democrat-turned-Republican Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (R) easily won his primary and is set to face off against Amy Kennedy, a former teacher and wife of former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), who defeated university professor Brigid Callahan Harrison in one of the most contentious Democratic primaries.

And Rep. Chris SmithChristopher (Chris) Henry SmithChina sanctions Cruz, Rubio, others over Xinjiang legislation New Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries Republican Rep. Chris Smith easily wins primary in New Jersey MORE (R), who for a while was the only Republican in New Jersey's House delegation until Van Drew's party switch, won with 95 percent of the vote.