STATE – Four-term Sen. Frank Lautenberg easily defeated Rep. Rob Andrews to win the Democratic Party nomination to run for one of the state’s seats in the U.S. Senate. Lautenberg will face former Republican Congressman Dick Zimmer in the November general election.
Lautenberg, 84, is heavily favored in the general election. New Jersey has not elected a Republican to the Senate in 36 years.
Although Andrews did not enter the race until April, the campaign saw two debates and numerous television commercials from both sides. The 18-year Congressman tried to convince voters that Lautenberg was too old to seek another term in the Senate, but that argument failed to win Andrews enough votes. With 85 percent of the votes tallied, 62 percent of state Democratic voters chose Lautenberg, while only 32 percent picked Andrews. Morristown Mayor Donald Cresitello, who was largely ignored by the two front-runners, finished a distant third.
Zimmer topped a Republican field of three which also included Morris County state Sen. Joseph Pennacchio and Murray Sabrin, a business professor at Ramapo College. All three Republicans tried to position themselves as conservative champions of reduced government spending. Zimmer supports abortion rights, while Pennacchio and Sabrin oppose them. With 86 of the votes counted, 46 percent of Republican voters chose Zimmer, while 39 percent chose Pennacchio and just 14 percent opted for Sabrin.
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