2014 New Jersey General Election returns

New Jersey Democrat Donald Norcross (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

New Jersey Democrat Donald Norcross (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Overview of key races and issues for Central and Southern New Jersey

Ballot Question 1 on bail reform approved

Ballot Question 2 on dedicated funding for open space approved

U.S. Senate – Democrat Cory Booker wins

Congressional District 1 – Democrat Donald Norcross wins

Congressional District 2 – Republican Frank LoBiondo wins

Congressional District 3 – Republican Tom MacArthur wins

Congressional District 4 – Republican Chris Smith wins

Congressional District 12 – Democrat Bonnie Watson Coleman wins

Local ballot questions

Margate votes approved a plan for city leaders to legally challenge the state’s plan to build sand dunes in their community

Voters within the Lower Cape May Regional School Distrct rejected a plan that would have increased the tax burden on towns with more students enrolled in the district. 

Hopewell Township residents rejected a tax hike to buy more open space in their community.

Trenton voters approved a plan to give workers the ability to earn paid sick leave.

Mercer County voters rejected a plastic grocery bag tax aimed at encouraging paper or reusable bags.

 

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10:31 p.m. – New Jersey voters have approved amending the state constitution to eliminate the right to bail for some defendants accused of violent crimes.

The measure approved Tuesday is a major step in the state’s plan to overhaul the bail system. The changes are intended to keep those deemed dangerous locked up as they await trial while letting low-level suspects free even if they can’t afford bail.

Proponents say the changes would keep the state safer, help people accused of nonviolent crimes and reduce jail crowding.

Backers of the bill include Republican Gov. Chris Christie and lawmakers from both parties.

But opponents are wary, saying that while the intentions may be honorable, the amendment is flawed because it doesn’t spell out a right to a speedy trial for those detained without bail.

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10:27 p.m. – New Jersey voters have approved dedicating some tax revenue to buying and preserving open space despite opposition from Gov. Chris Christie.

The constitutional amendment approved Tuesday focuses on the state’s corporate business tax.

Initially, it moves money now dedicated to other environmental causes to preserving open space. But starting in 2019, it increases the amount of the tax dedicated to open space and other environmental concerns.

That allocation is to jump from 4 percent to 6 percent.

Christie said he would vote against the measure. He says it’s irresponsible to pass an amendment that restricts the government’s ability to make future budget decisions.

New Jersey voters have repeatedly approved open space funding plans over the last half century.

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10:23 p.m. – The Associated Press has declared Bonnie Watson Coleman the winner of New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District race. 

Bonnie Watson Coleman, a Democrat, defeated Republican Alieta Eck to become the lone woman in New Jersey’s U.S. House delegation.

Watson Coleman succeeds Democratic incumbent Rush Holt, who is resigning after eight terms in Congress.

Watson Coleman has represented Mercer County in the Legislature since 1998.

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10:10 p.m. – The Associated Press has declared Tom MacArthur the winner in New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District race. 

MacArthur, a Republican, defeated Democrat Aimee Belgard in what was one of the most closely watched races in New Jersey.

The 3rd District seat was open as Republican Jon Runyan decided not to seek re-election after serving two terms.

National Democratic groups saw the race in a district stretching from the Philadelphia suburbs to the shore as one of their party’s best chances nationwide to pick up a House seat held by a Republican.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ran ads blasting MacArthur, a retired insurance executive, as someone who profited from disasters.In a largely self-funded campaign, MacArthur responded with ads critical of Belgard as untrustworthy.

MacArthur is the former mayor of the northern New Jersey town of Randolph. Belgard is a Burlington County freeholder.

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9:40 p.m. – The Associated Press has declared Chris Smith the winner in New Jersey’s 4th Congressional District race.

Republican Congressman Smith defeated Democrat Ruben Scolavino, a criminal defense lawyer who ran unsuccessfully last year for Monmouth County sheriff.

Smith is the dean of New Jersey’s congressional delegation and has been in the spotlight for his role in human rights cases around the world.

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9:17 p.m. – The Associated Press has declared Republican Frank LoBiondo the winner in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District race.  

Congressman Frank LoBiondo has defeated Democrat Bill Hughes Jr. whose father represented the district from 1975 until 1995.

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9:06 p.m. – The Associated Press has declared Democrat Donald Norcross the winner in New Jersey’s 1st Congressional District race. Norcross has beaten former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Garry Cobb to take a congressional seat representing southern New Jersey.

Norcross is a state senator who has spent most of his career as an electrician and union official.

He also is the brother of New Jersey’s most politically powerful non-elected Democrat, George Norcross. Donald Norcross has downplayed the role of his brother in his campaign and political ambitions.

He defeated Republican Cobb in Tuesday’s election in the 1st District, a heavily Democratic area in the Philadelphia suburbs.

He also won a special election to serve the remainder of the term of Rep. Rob Andrews, a longtime Democratic congressman who resigned this year.

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8:30 p.m. – The Associated Press has declared Democratic Senator Cory Booker the winner in the New Jersey Senate race. Booker defeated Republican Jeff Bell, who had little name recognition statewide. Booker was in the incumbent after winning a special election last year after Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg died in office.

The 45-year-old Booker focused his campaign on bipartisanship, highlighting his work with Republicans in Washington in cable TV ads.

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8:00 p.m. – The polls have closed in New Jersey and it’s now time to count the ballots. Check back here for updated results on the major races and issues facing New Jersey voters. 

At the top of the ticket in New Jersey voters are deciding whether to give Democratic U.S. Sen. Cory Booker a full term in Washington as he faces a Republican who returned after three decades away from the state.

The former Newark mayor, who won a special election last year after Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg died in office, is competing Tuesday against former Ronald Reagan speechwriter and think tank policy director Jeff Bell for his first full six-year term.

All 12 of New Jersey’s congressional seats are on the ballot. Democrats control six while Republicans control six. 

Two statewide ballot questions will be decided.

Ballot Question 1 asks voters to give judges the option of denying bail to some defendants. What many voters may not know is that if Ballot Question 1 is approved it would also allow some low-risk defendants – who cannot afford to post bail – to be released.

Ballot Question 2 asks voters to allow a portion of New Jersey’s business tax to be used permanently for the open space program. In the past, voters were asked whether the state should borrow money to buy open space for limited period. 

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