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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 EngelDemocrats call on Blinken to set new sexual misconduct policies at State Department Lawmakers on hot mic joke 'aisle hog' Engel absent from Biden address: 'He'd wait all day' Bowman to deliver progressive response to Biden's speech to Congress 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 MaloneyHow ERA is good for the economy Wray suggests limits on FBI social media tracking a 'lesson learned' after Jan. 6 Trump, allies pressured DOJ to back election claims, documents show 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 BookerZombie Tax punishes farmers to fill DC coffers Rand Paul does not support a national minimum wage increase — and it's important to understand why Absences force Senate to punt vote on Biden nominee 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. SiresCountering China's influence in the Caribbean with a second Caribbean Basin Initiative We can't lose sight of Ortega's abuses in Nicaragua Hispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs 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 ColemanTSA working on additional pipeline security regulations following Colonial Pipeline hack President Biden can prevent over 4,000 people from being sent back to prison Lawmakers roll out legislation to defend pipelines against cyber threats 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 PascrellZombie Tax punishes farmers to fill DC coffers Democrats face new pressure to raise taxes New report reignites push for wealth tax MORE (D) leading by about 70 points and Rep. Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerOmar feuds with Jewish Democrats House moderates unveil .25T infrastructure plan Democrats debate shape of new Jan. 6 probe 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 SmithThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate path uncertain after House approves Jan. 6 panel The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Facebook — Biden delivers 100 million shots in 58 days, doses to neighbors The eight Republicans who voted to tighten background checks on guns 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.