By Michael Aron
Chief Political Correspondent
“I was like, I won. I won, I won, I won!” said Bonnie Watson Coleman.
Watson Coleman was at home today in Ewing Township fielding congratulatory phone calls and talking about her convincing win.
“We did the ground game, We didn’t just depend upon commercials on TV or mailers in the mailbox,” said Watson Coleman.
Senator Linda Greenstein was thought to be in a dead heat with Watson Coleman.
But when the votes were counted Watson Coleman got 43 percent, Greenstein 28, Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula 22, and physicist Andrew Zwicker 7 percent.
“My hometown showed up!,” said Watson Coleman.
Pollster Patrick Murray attributes the result to a large turnout in Mercer County and only normal turnout in Greenstein’s Middlesex County.
“17,000 votes came out of Mercer. That’s a huge number. Nobody expected to see anything like that and that’s not just from Trenton, that’s from suburban Mercer. That’s where Bonnie Watson Coleman won this race by just turning a lot of voters in her backyard. I think on election night she said my hometown showed up and they certainly did,” said Murray. As for the turnout for Middlesex Murray said,”In Middlesex, it was just under 11,000.”
“At the end of the day, New Jerseyans knew the people that were in the race. That they were really looking for someone who not only votes in a progressive manner but speaks up when need. And someone that has been an outspoken Democrat on the issues that have been very important to us,” said Watson Coleman.
“So we’re gonna go down to Congress and we’re going to work on immigration reform. we’re going to work on women’s rights. We’re going to work on voting rights. We’re going to work on getting guns out of hands they shouldn’t be in,” said Watson Coleman.
In the other big congressional primary, mainstream Republican Tom MacArthur beat Tea Party Republican Steve Lonegan 60 percent to 40.
MacArthur and Lonegan spoke by phone last night.
MacArthur spent a lot of money and had party backing. Lonegan was banking on name recognition.
“Lonegan needed a big turnout. He needed to appeal to new voters, people who normally don’t go out and vote in a primary and we didn’t see them show up. Only 25,000 voters showed up,” said Murray.
And in the Republican US Senate primary, it was Jeff Bell winning with 30 percent, Rich Pezzulo had 26, Brian Goldberg 25, and Murray Sabrin 19.
“I think a lot of it had to do with a name like Jeff Bell, very simple name, a name that kind of appeals to the WASP Republican voters who doesn’t know any of these candidates,” said Murray.
Bell won a Republican US Senate primary 36 years ago, moved to Washington and is back to take on Cory Booker.