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New Jersey, U.S. Senate

Incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez (D) defeated former biopharmaceutical executive Bob Hugin (R) and six others in the general election on November 6, 2018, for New Jersey's Class 1 Senate seat.

Thirty-five of the 100 seats in the United States Senate were up for election in 2018, including two seats up for special election. Republicans gained four previously Democratic-held seats and Democrats gained two previously Republican-held seats, resulting in a net gain of two seats for the Republican Party and a 53-seat majority in the chamber. This race was identified as a 2018 battleground that might have affected partisan control of the chamber in the 116th Congress. At the time of the election, Republicans held a 51-seat Senate majority. Democrats held 47 seats, and the two independents caucused with them. Democrats faced greater partisan risk in 2018, as they were defending 26 seats while Republicans were only defending nine. Democrats had to defend seats in 10 states Donald Trump (R) won. The GOP defended one Senate seat in a state Hillary Clinton (D) won.

Menendez had held the seat since 2006 when he defeated Thomas Kean Jr. (R) by nine percentage points. Menendez won re-election in 2012 by a margin of 18 percentage points. New Jersey hadn't elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate since 1972. Several media and ratings outlets, however, suggested that the 2018 Senate race could be competitive. NBC News added Menendez's seat to their "Top 10 Senate takeovers list" on October 3, 2018, and on October 4, 2018, The Cook Political Report changed its rating of the race from Likely Democratic to Lean Democratic.

Third party and independent candidates included Tricia Flanagan (New Day NJ), Madelyn Hoffman (Green Party), Kevin Kimple (Make it Simple), Natalie Lynn Rivera (For the People), Murray Sabrin (L), and Hank Schroeder (Economic Growth).


U.S. Senate election in New Jersey

Poll Poll sponsor Menendez HuginSabrinUnsure/Someone else/Wouldn't VoteMargin of ErrorSample Size
Quinnipiac University
(October 29 - November 4, 2018)
N/A 55%40%0%5%+/-4.01,115
Stockton University
(October 25-31, 2018)
N/A 51%39%3%6%+/-4.0598
Vox Populi Polling
(October 27-29, 2018)
N/A 54%46%0%0%+/-3.4814
Emerson College
(October 24-26, 2018)
N/A 47%42%0%7%+/-4.0659
Rutgers University
(October 12-19, 2018)
N/A 51%46%0%4%+/-5.1496

U.S. Senate election in New Jersey

Poll Menendez HuginSabrinUnsure/Someone else/Wouldn't VoteMargin of ErrorSample Size
Monmouth University
(October 11-15, 2018)
Quinnipiac University
(October 10-16, 2018)
CBS News/YouGov
October 2-5, 2018
Quinnipiac University
September 15- October 2, 2018
Fairleigh Dickinson University
September 26-30, 2018
Stockton University
September 19-27, 2018
Quinnipiac University Poll
August 15-20, 2018
Gravis Marketing/Sabrin (L) Internal Poll
August 14-15, 2018
Gravis Marketing
July 6-10, 2018

Campaign finance

The chart below contains data from financial reports submitted to the Federal Election Commission.

Name Party Receipts* Disbursements** Cash on hand Date
Bob Hugin Republican Party $39,236,111 $39,113,138 $122,973 As of December 31, 2018
Bob Menendez Democratic Party $9,579,191 $11,003,884 $219,432 As of December 31, 2018

Source: Federal Elections Commission, "Campaign finance data," 2018.

* According to the FEC, "Receipts are anything of value (money, goods, services or property) received by a political committee."
** According to the FEC, a disbursement "is a purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit or gift of money or anything of value to influence a federal election," plus other kinds of payments not made to influence a federal election.

Election history


U.S. Senate, New Jersey General Election, 2014

Party Candidate Vote % Votes
Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngCory Booker Incumbent 55.8% 1,043,866
Republican Jeff Bell 42.3% 791,297
Libertarian Joe Baratelli 0.9% 16,721
Independent Jeff Boss 0.2% 4,513
Independent Antonio N. Sabas 0.2% 3,544
Democratic-Republican Eugene Lavergne 0.2% 3,890
Economic Growth Hank Schroeder 0.3% 5,704
Total Votes 1,869,535
Source: New Jersey Division of Elections


U.S. Senate, New Jersey, General Election, 2012

Party Candidate Vote % Votes
Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngRobert Menendez Incumbent 58.9% 1,987,680
Republican Joe Kyrillos 39.4% 1,329,534
Libertarian Kenneth R. Kaplan 0.5% 16,803
Green Ken Wolski 0.5% 15,801
Jersey Strong Independents Gwen Diakos 0.3% 9,359
Totally Independent Candidate J. David Dranikoff 0.1% 3,834
America First Inder "Andy" Soni 0.1% 3,593
Responsibility Fairness Integrity Robert "Turk" Turkavage 0.1% 3,532
Socialist Party USA Gregory Pason 0.1% 2,249
No Slogan Eugene Martin Lavergne 0.1% 2,198
Reform Nation Daryl Mikell Brooks 0.1% 2,066
Total Votes 3,376,649
Source: New Jersey Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"


Demographic data for New Jersey

New JerseyU.S.
Total population:8,935,421316,515,021
Land area (sq mi):7,3543,531,905
Race and ethnicity**
Black/African American:13.5%12.6%
Native American:0.2%0.8%
Pacific Islander:0%0.2%
Two or more:2.5%3%
High school graduation rate:88.6%86.7%
College graduation rate:36.8%29.8%
Median household income:$72,093$53,889
Persons below poverty level:12.7%11.3%
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, "American Community Survey" (5-year estimates 2010-2015)
for more information on the 2020 census and here for more on its impact on the redistricting process in New Jersey.

As of July 2016, New Jersey had a population of approximately 9 million people, and its three largest cities were New Jersey (pop. est. 283,000), Jersey City (pop. est. 265,000), and Paterson (pop. est. 147,000).