Ahead of last month’s congressional elections, Republicans were hoping 2022 would be another 2021, with Jack Cittarelli leading a red wave and Republicans winning statewide. Democrats, unrealistically, would prefer another 2020, when Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump and swept the formerly red suburbs.

The end result? Somewhere in the middle. Democrats were unable to match Biden’s numbers in much of the state, especially in congressional districts held by incumbent Republicans. But they also did much better than Gov. Phil Murphy, preventing Republicans from repeating the gains they made last year.

There were a total of 44 cities that voted for Biden in 2020 and a Republican for Congress this year, compared to six cities that voted for a Democrat this year after endorsing Trump. On the other hand, 64 cities supported a Democrat for Congress after voting for Cittarelli in 2021, while only one city voted for Murphy, a Republican in Congress.

Look at all these cities.

President 2020 – Congress 2022

Midterm elections typically see the party in power lose ground, and while 2022 was a good year for New Jersey Democrats, they still fell short of Biden’s mark in many districts and cities.

Most importantly, Democrats lost the 7th electoral district, which has been held for the past four years by Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes). Rep.-elect Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield) won by about three points — enough to flip 11 Biden-voting towns, most of them in the historically Republican suburbs of Morris and Somerset counties.

For example, the Somerset County district of Bernardsville last year supported Biden by just over 10 points, but voted for Keane by one point. Such guerilla swings were common in towns throughout the 7th District, though in many cases it did not lead to a town overturn; neighboring Bernards also shifted 10 points to the Republicans, but they were still won by Malinowski.

If Keane hopes to earn more terms in Congress, he’ll have to keep winning in places like Bernardsville. It could be an increasingly tough order as New Jersey’s suburbs continue to shift toward Democrats, though Keane has proven very capable of winning over moderate Biden voters who distrust the national Republican brand.

The other two districts with significant Republican Biden towns were the 2nd and 4th Districts, where Reps. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis) and Chris Smith (R-Manchester) swept weak Democratic challengers. Van Drew flipped 12 cities to Biden, while Smith flipped five more.

Notably, Van Drew won Millville and Egg Harbor, the largest municipalities in Cumberland and Atlantic counties, respectively. Both of those districts are typically light blue in presidential elections, so Van Drew’s strength in their localities will scare any Democrat hoping for a chance to unseat him.

Democratic candidates in the 3rd, 5th, 6th, 9th and 12th districts also lost at least one town that Biden won, though all five still won re-election by double digits.

On the other hand, the cities that switched from Trump to a Democrat in Congress were far fewer and more remote.

In the 11th District, Rep. Mickey Sherrill (D-Munclair) is impressive Victory with 19 points allowed her to flip two cities, Roseland and Florham Park, from Trump. She also fell just four votes short in Cedar Grove, which hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in decades.

Reps. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown), Donald Norcross (D-Camden) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch) also flipped one city each: Mansfield for Kim, National Park for Norcross and South Amboy for Pallone.

Finally, and very unexpectedly, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing) was able to flip tiny Millstone in Somerset County, even though she lost heavily to Biden in most of the rest of the 12th District. However, the city district only cast 200 votes, so it didn’t have much of an impact on the overall result.

2021 Governor – 2022 Congress

When he won re-election by a three-point margin in 2021, Murphy performed so poorly that Democrats in Congress were able to outvote him almost everywhere that year.

Every Democrat but one was able to flip at least one town that Ciattorelli won. The one exception, 8th District Rep. Rob Menendez (D-Jersey City), has a pretty good excuse: Ciatarelli had no towns in his district anyway.

Although he lost to Keene, Malinowski was able to flip seven towns in Chattarelli, including Chattarelli’s hometown of Raritan County. (Ciatorelli’s current hometown of Hillsboro also went Democratic, though Malinowski lost part of the city in the 7th District.)

Ciattorelli won the 7th District by more than 12 points last year, which shows how Republican the district is. So Keane’s performance was closer to the baseline for modern elections in a rapidly changing district.

Norcross, Kim, Pallone, Sherrill and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) also flipped at least six cities from the 2021 gubernatorial race; Kim managed to flip 11 cities, while Sherrill flipped 12. Suburbs across the state that had appeared willing to support Cittarelli in a statewide contest refused to vote Republican in the federal race.

Even Tim Alexander and Matt Jenkins, the doomed Democratic candidates running against Van Drew and Smith, managed to flip one city each: Woolwich for Alexander and tiny Lake Como for Jenkins.

Alexander County also had the only town won by Murphy that voted Republican this year. Cape May, in the southernmost part of the state, voted for Van Drew after narrowly supporting Murphy last year.

Biden 2020 / Republican 2022
CD-2: Cornice Point, Cape May, Egg Harbor City, Egg Harbor Township, Galloway, Hamilton (Atlantic), Millville, Somers Point, Ventnor City, Vineland, Woodbine, Woodstown
CD-3: Marlboro
CD-4: Eatontown, Ocean (Monmouth), Shrewsbury, South Toms River, Tinton Falls
CD-5: Englewood Cliffs, Mahwah, Midland Park, Montvale, Northvale, Upper Saddle River
CD-6: Little Silver, Loch Arbour, Matawan, Sayreville
CD-7: Bedminster, Bernardsville, Green Brook, Long Hill, Mendham Borough, Mine Hill, Mount Olive, Peacock and Gladstone, Phillipsburg, Warren, Watchung
CD-9: Hasbrouck Heights, Hawthorne, Rochelle Park
CD-12: Jamesburg, South River

Trump 2020/Democrat 2022
CD-1: National Park
CD-3: Mansfield (Burlington)
CD-6: South Amboy
CD-11: Florham Park, Roseland
CD-12: Mills (Somerset)

Murphy 2021 / Republican 2022
CD-2: Cape May

Ciattarelli 2021 / Democrat 2022
CD-1: Berlin Area, Mount Ephraim, Monroe (Gloucester), National Park, Pitman, West Deptford, Westville, Woodbury Heights
CD-2: Woolwich
CD-3: Chesterfield, Cinnamonson, Florence, Hainsport, Mansfield (Burlington), Medford, Medford Lakes, Pemberton Borough, Pemberton Township, Riverside, Wrightstown
CD-4: Lake Como
CD-5: Allendale, Alpine, Hillsdale, Ho Ho Coos, Norwood, Rumsey, River Vale, Waldwick
CD-6: Aberdeen, Fair Haven, Highlands, Interlaken, Neptune City, South Amboy, South Plainfield
CD-7: Berkeley Heights, Bernards, Calif., Clinton Town, High Bridge, Raritan Borough, Wharton
CD-9: East Rutherford, Elmwood Park, South Hackensack, Wood-Ridge
CD-10: Harwood
CD-11: Boonton Township, Chatham Township, Danville, Florham Park, Little Falls, North Caldwell, Nutley, Rockaway Borough, Rockaway Township, Roseland, West Caldwell, Woodland Park
CD-12: Mills (Somerset)
Split: Bridgewater (Districts 7 and 12), Hillsborough (Districts 7 and 12), Mendham Township (Districts 7 and 11)

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