It took long enough, but Election 2020 is over.
Joe Biden has been declared your next president, Cory Booker never had any trouble, and state lawmakers in Trenton on Monday will begin acting on bills showing exactly how New Jersey will allow you to legally buy weed.
And we in the Garden State just went through an unusual, mostly mail-in election amid the coronavirus pandemic:
Of course, there are always winners and losers. Here’s our list:
The days-long “he’s on track to win the White House” narrative ended Saturday as the numbers showed Biden had crossed the magic 270 electoral vote threshold to beat President Donald Trump.
As expected, Biden easily won New Jersey. Time was when New Jersey stood out as one of those swing states. No more. Democrats have now taken the Garden State in every election since 1992.
The camera-loving Democrat handily won a second full term representing New Jersey in the U.S. Senate, keeping his national platform firmly in place. (Would he try another presidential run?)
Booker could even find himself in the majority if Democrats win both Senate runoffs in Georgia.
The new weed industry
After years of stops and starts, marijuana will finally be legal in New Jersey after voters passed a constitutional amendment allowing sales to people over the age of 21.
But before people can begin buying it, lawmakers must still pass a bill that will detail the rules and regulations surrounding the legal weed industry. The first bills get hearings Monday in Trenton.
It sets the stage for a burgeoning new industry in the state and a new infusion of tax money into the state budget. Plus, it will significantly cut down on marijuana arrests, which disproportionately affect people of color.
And it makes a winner (sort of) of Gov. Phil Murphy. The Democrat campaigned on bringing legal pot to New Jersey. It took three years and a referendum, but it still happened.
N.J.’s congressional delegation
All 12 incumbents in the state’s congressional delegation were returned to office, including all four first-term members, traditionally the more likely to lose re-election.
Voters approved a ballot initiative that gives peacetime veterans in New Jersey the same opportunity to get a $250 property tax deduction that was already available to wartime veterans.
With New Jersey combating COVID-19, Murphy ordered mail-in ballots be sent to 6 million registered voters in the state. The result was a record turnout.
More than 4 million ballots were received, a new state record. It could swell by another 500,000 when everything is tallied.
“The numbers look awfully good,” Murphy said Tuesday night. “It’s gonna be a record turnout, there’s not a question about that.”
Jeff Van Drew
Van Drew was first elected to Congress as a Democrat when a blue wave crashed over New Jersey in 2018. But after switching parties and embracing Trump, Van Drew defeated in Democratic challenger Amy Kennedy, a member of the iconic Democratic family, in South Jersey’s 2nd District. It was one of the few bright spots for New Jersey Republicans.
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This was an easy one. Despite being a frequent visitor to the state, spending warmer weekends at his Bedminster golf club throughout his presidency, Trump lost New Jersey by about 20 percentage points.
He also had a winning percentage of just .333 as two of the three New Jersey congressional candidates he endorsed, David Richter in the 3rd District and Frank Pallotta in the 5th District, lost their races.
Another New Jersey Republican U.S. Senate candidate
With Rik Mehta’s loss to Booker, a Republican still hasn’t won a U.S. Senate seat in New Jersey since Clifford Case in 1972. Think about that. That was before disco. And Phil Murphy was 15.
State Republican Chairman Doug Steinhardt
Steinhardt, the state party and their nominees closely linked themselves to Trump. The party also failed to win back any of the congressional districts lost two years ago.
And voters approved a constitutional amendment Republicans fear will give Democrats an edge in drawing legislative districts crucial to winning Senate and Assembly seats.
South Jersey Democrats
Perhaps not giving Van Drew a pass on impeachment was a bad idea.
TO BE DETERMINED
U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez
If the Democratic candidates win both Senate runoffs in Georgia, New Jersey’s other Democratic senator becomes chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. If they don’t, Menendez gets another two years in the minority.
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Jonathan D. Salant may be reached at [email protected].
Brent Johnson may be reached at [email protected].