Organization Victories in Contested NJ Primaries

By Michael Aron
Chief Political Correspondent

Jamel Holley was one of last night’s winners.

Today he went into the streets and shops of his town, Roselle, to thank people who may have voted for him.

“Whether it was walking, whether it was campaign events, whether it was coffee klatches, the people who opened their houses, I insured I tried to touch everybody I possibly can. While I was concerned about turnout, I knew that if I touched people, they would come out. If I met them and we talked about their issues and we came up with a plan about how we could help with some of their concerns, I knew that they would come out and they did, Mike,” Holley said.

Holley was running with Annette Quijano, a seven-year assemblywoman.

They defeated a ticket allied with the Elizabeth Board of Education by nearly 2 to 1.

Quijano and Holley are part of the Lesniak-Bollwage team in Union County.

The Elizabeth Board of Education has been fighting that organization for two decades.

Quijano was relieved to have survived in a low turnout election.

“There are those that will vote no matter what, every primary and every general election and for those people, I thank them. Because it didn’t matter if it was rainy and gloomy, they came out yesterday,” Quijano said.

It was a night for organization victories in all five contested primaries.

In Hudson County, the organization-backed team of Nicholas Chiaravalloti and Angela McKnight beat five other Democrats by better than 4 to 1.

Chiaravalloti was once state director for Sen. Bob Menendez.

“I think one of the keys to our success in this campaign and the large turnout we received despite the rainy weather is that we reached out to every member of the community. Ande we’re going to do that now until November. Even after we win, in every single one of our town halls we talked about continue that dialogue with the community and then we’ll see what happens in the future,” Chiaravalloti said.

In District 9 along the shore, Republican incumbents Brian Rumpf and DiAnne Gove beat a team of self-styled conservatives by 5 to 1.

In District 15 in the Trenton area, incumbents Reed Gusciora and Liz Muoia defeated a sole challenger by nearly 4 to 1.

And in District 24 in Sussex County, incumbent Republican Parker Space and his running mate, Freeholder Gail Phoebus, beat their two challengers by 3 to 1.

So the field is set for November’s Assembly election. But just as there were no surprises in the primary, no one expects much change — or much drama — in the general.

Related: PublicMind Poll Executive Director Explains Low Primary Voter Turnout