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Analysis

Bashaw, Kim Get Senate Nods; Van Drew Opponents in Tight Race

Bashaw, Kim Get Senate Nods; Van Drew Opponents in Tight Race

By Vince Conti

Curtis Bashaw, center, at a fundraiser at the Lobster House Feb. 15.
Christopher South/File Photo
Curtis Bashaw, center, at a fundraiser at the Lobster House Feb. 15.

New Jersey’s primary election on Tuesday, June 4, had some drama, especially in the race for Senate, where South Jersey hospitality businessman Curtis Bashaw comfortably beat Mendham Borough Mayor Christine Serrano-Glassner. Serrano-Glassner’s endorsement by former President Donald J. Trump was not enough to bring her a victory.

Bashaw will face off against Rep. Andy Kim (D-3) in the November election. Kim sailed home in the primary with 75% of the vote and all the major endorsements open to a Democratic candidate. He had a relatively clear field after Tammy Murphy’s campaign collapsed in March.

Bashaw won the state Republican nod with just under 46% of the vote compared to Glassner’s 39%. In Cape May County he did better, winning the county with 7,335 votes to Glassner’s 1,203. Kim took 83% of the county Democratic vote.

It is possible that New Jersey’s controversial county line ballot structure helped Bashaw. Litigation brought by Kim led the county line ballot format to be banned in the Democratic primaries, but it was still allowed on the Republican side. It is a format in which the candidate with the county party organization’s backing gets a prime spot on the ballot. Bashaw had that endorsement in 14 of the state’s 21 counties.

Sen. Robert Menendez is not going quietly and could be a wild card in the General Election. On Monday, June 3, Menendez filed to run again for his Senate seat, as an independent. The question is, can a candidacy by an incumbent who is facing 16 federal corruption charges pull enough votes from Kim to make the race with Bashaw more interesting? No Republican has won a contest for Senate in New Jersey since 1972.

The name may have been an added burden, but Menendez’s son, Rob Menendez, was able to win the Democratic nod over Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla in the heavily blue 8th District. Menendez is seeking a second term in the House.

There were no surprises in the voting for president, with Trump and President Joe Biden winning handily in their respective party votes. Trump garnered 95% of the vote, with 5% going to write-in candidates. Biden managed 89% of the Democratic vote, as some voters continued to try and send a message to the president’s camp by not committing to his reelection.

Three Democrats vied for the right to face off against District 2 Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who ran unopposed on the Republican ballot. South Jersey businessman Joseph Salerno appears to have denied Tim Alexander an opportunity to battle Van Drew for a second time, having lost to him two years ago. The race was close and the result is not yet certified, but Salerno was holding a 38% to 36.8% lead over Alexander. Carolyn Rush is third with 21.8% of the vote.

Salerno commandingly won Cape May County with 51% of the vote, his best result in the six counties that in whole or in part make up the district.

In local races, county Commission Director Leonard Desiderio, seeking reelection, ran unopposed for the Republican nod, garnering more than 99% of the vote. No Democrat filed to run for a seat on the county commission.

Cape May County has seven partisan municipalities, towns in which candidates run with party labels. Each of those seven had open seats on the ballot, but in almost all cases the races were uncontested.

The exception was in Upper Township, where the son and nephew of long-time Mayor Rich Palombo ran for the township committee. Zachary Palombo and Samuel Palombo appear to have won over incumbents Mayor John “Jay” Newman and Deputy Mayor Kimberly Hayes. Incomplete results showed the Palombo cousins each receiving 30% of the vote compared with Newman’s 20.6% and Hayes’ 18.7%.

In Dennis Township, Frank Germanio Jr. won the Republican primary with no opposition. No Democrats filed to run.

In Lower Township, Mayor Frank Sippel and Councilman Kevin Coombs captured their primary in bids to return to the council. No candidates were on the Democratic ballot.

Middle Township Deputy Mayor Theron “Ike” Gandy received 99% of the vote running unopposed in the Republican primary. No Democratic petition was filed.

In Stone Harbor, three Republican incumbents ran unopposed. Two, Frank Dallahan and Bernadette “Bunny” Parzych, are seeking new terms on the council. Councilman Tim Carney ran for mayor, seeking to fill the seat currently held by Judith Davies-Dunhour, who has said she will not run again. No Democrat filed to challenge any of the three in November.

North Wildwood was the only municipality in which there were candidates on both the Republican and Democratic ballots. Republican James Kane garnered 99% of the vote running unopposed for council in the First Ward. On the Democratic ballot, Maria Mattero also ran unopposed and received 95% of the vote.

In the Second Ward, Joseph Rollo received 100% of the vote in the Republican primary. There was no Democratic petition filed.

Newcomer Barbara Prettyman and incumbent Joseph Johnson III were successful as Republican candidates for council in Woodbine, where no Democratic petitions were filed.

Contact the reporter, Vince Conti, at vconti@cmcherald.com.

Reporter

Vince Conti is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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