New Jersey gubernatorial election, 1997

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New Jersey gubernatorial election, 1997

← 1993 November 4, 1997 2001 →

  WhitmanChristineTodd.jpg Jim McGreevey 2009 Exodus 7 (cropped).jpg
Nominee Christine Todd Whitman Jim McGreevey
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,133,394 1,107,968
Percentage 46.9% 45.8%

1997 NJ GovElect Results graduated.svg
Winning percentage by county:
  Whitman—60-70%
  Whitman—50-60%
  Whitman—40-50%
  McGreevey—40-50%
  McGreevey—50-60%
  McGreevey—60-70%

Governor before election

Christine Todd Whitman
Republican

Elected Governor

Christine Todd Whitman
Republican

The New Jersey gubernatorial election of 1997 was a race for Governor of New Jersey. It was held on November 4, 1997. In the Democratic primary state senator and Woodbridge Township mayor James McGreevey defeated pre-primary front-runner Rep. Rob Andrews by 9,993 votes. Although incumbent Republican Governor Christine Todd Whitman had a comfortable lead in polls in the run up to the vote, on election night she prevailed over McGreevey by a narrow margin of 26,953 votes (1.05%), a similarly narrow margin to her previous election. Whitman won 46.87% of the vote, with Democratic nominee James McGreevey receiving 45.82% and Libertarian Murray Sabrin receiving 4.7%.

Republican primary

Candidates

Results

Republican Party primary results[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Christine Todd Whitman (inc.) 147,731 100.00
Total votes 147,731 100.00

Democratic primary

Candidates

Results

Democratic primary results[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jim McGreevey 148,153 39.86
Democratic Rob Andrews 138,160 37.17
Democratic Michael Murphy 79,172 21.30
Democratic Frank C. Marmo 6,189 1.67
Total votes 371,674 100

General election

Candidates

Campaign

In June, a 60-second radio ad paid for by the New Jersey Republican Party focused on the 30% income tax cut and 180,000 new jobs. Whitman ads blamed McGreevey for the state's auto insurance rates. The Whitman campaign emphasized the drops in unemployment, violent crime and welfare rolls during her term. Other ads took aim at McGreevey's record on taxes, particularly his support for former Gov. Jim Florio's (D) tax increase. The RNC criticized former Gov. Jim Florio (D) in an ad October, calling his 1990 tax increase a result of electing "liberal Democrats".

In September, McGreevey unveiled two TV ads criticizing Whitman and focusing on property taxes, auto insurance rates, pension bond debts and education standards. The Democratic National Committee also spent $1 million during the home stretch of the campaign on television ads for Democratic candidates statewide[citation needed].

Polling

Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size
Margin of
error
Jim
McGreevey (D)
Christine Todd
Whitman (R)
Murray
Sabrin (L)
Other Undecided
New York Times/CBS News October 25–29, 1997 1,082 ± 3.0% 33% 44% 8% 3% 12%
Quinnipiac College October 14–20, 1997 1,120 ± 2.9% 37% 45% 8% 1% 9%
Quinnipiac College September 8–13, 1997 865 ± 3.3% 37% 49% - 4% 10%

Issues

In October, a poll found that voters of NJ called auto insurance the most important issue in the campaign, and property taxes second[citation needed].

Debates

Three debates on October 18, 21 and 24, Whitman, McGreevey and Sabrin traded barbs on their dueling auto insurance plans, property taxes, state spending and the Atlantic City tunnel, a $215 million project for which a private investor gave $55 million[citation needed].

Results

New Jersey Gubernatorial Election, 1997[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Christine Todd Whitman (inc.) 1,133,394 46.87% -2.46%
Democratic Jim McGreevey 1,107,968 45.82% +10.62%
Libertarian Murray Sabrin 114,172 4.72% +4.40%
Conservative Richard J. Pezzullo 34,906 1.44% +1.24%
Green Madelyn R. Hoffman 10,703 0.44%
Independent Michael Perrone, Jr. 6,805 0.28%
Socialist Workers Robert B. Miller 2,816 0.12% +0.07%
Socialist Greg Pason 2,800 0.12%
Natural Law Lincoln Norton 2,540 0.11%
Independent Nuncie A. Ripa, Jr. 2,240 0.09%
Plurality 25,426 1.05% +0.01%
Turnout 2,418,344
Republican hold Swing

Results by County

County Whitman votes Whitman % McGreevey votes McGreevey % Other votes Other %
Atlantic 31,364 47.3% 29,091 43.9% 5,791 8.7%
Bergen 148,934 53.3% 118,834 42.5% 11,903 4.3%
Burlington 55,523 43.5% 60,690 47.5% 11,485 9.0%
Camden 51,643 35.7% 82,028 56.7% 10,933 7.6%
Cape May 18,227 49.6% 15,395 41.9% 3,159 8.6%
Cumberland 13,651 36.5% 19,977 53.5% 3,729 10.0%
Essex 69,470 35.5% 120,429 61.2% 6,778 3.4%
Gloucester 30,314 38.4% 41,082 52.1% 7,519 9.5%
Hudson 47,468 35.6% 80,526 60.4% 5,394 4.0%
Hunterdon 24,465 59.5% 10,983 26.7% 5,698 13.8%
Mercer 44,056 40.8% 54,977 50.9% 8,905 8.3%
Middlesex 83,149 39.3% 110,354 52.2% 17,911 5.5%
Monmouth 105,535 53.9% 74,098 37.8% 16,189 8.3%
Morris 97,414 65.4% 41,296 27.7% 10,252 6.9%
Ocean 84,897 53.8% 57,944 36.7% 15,076 9.5%
Passaic 55,541 45.2% 60,256 49.1% 6,966 5.7%
Salem 10,686 49.9% 8,790 41.0% 1,950 9.1%
Somerset 51,465 57.4% 29,089 32.4% 9,154 10.2%
Sussex 25,458 60.4% 11,331 26.9% 5,332 12.7%
Union 68,721 46.6% 69,673 47.2% 9,065 6.1%
Warren 15,413 50.8% 11,125 36.7% 3,793 125

[4]

References

  1. ^ http://www.njelections.org/election-results/1997-primary-election-results-governor.pdf
  2. ^ http://www.njelections.org/election-results/1997-primary-election-results-governor.pdf
  3. ^ http://www.state.nj.us/state/elections/election-results/1997-general-election-results-governor.pdf
  4. ^ https://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/index.html
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