This is the follow-up article to our first piece on New Jersey’s 2021 races which you can find here. We have numerous updates to our ratings following countless new candidacy declarations and shake-ups. As usual, these ratings were formulated by myself, along with my co-contributor Ethan Chen.
Statewide Race Ratings
While our Likely Democratic rating holds for the Gubernatorial race, we do have a change to our rating for the Republican primary. Following ex-State GOP chairman Doug Steinhardt’s dropping out of the race, we now consider the primary Safe Ciattarelli. Ciattarelli still faces four opponents in the primary, but Steinhardt’s suspension has opened up a clear path to the nomination for him.
Ciattarelli finished in second place during his 2017 bid for Governor, losing the primary to Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno.
State Senate Ratings
The State Senate chamber remains Safe Democratic, but we have a few changes in specific races that will be discussed in detail below.
LD-2 (Brown): Despite being a rather Democratic seat on paper, Republican Chris Brown has been able to hold the 2nd stably. Now that he’s retiring, the 2nd’s fate is up in the air. Out of an abundance of caution, Brown’s retirement has prompted us to move this seat from Leans Republican to Tossup.
LD-8 (Addiego): We are moving Democratic Senator Dawn Marie Addiego’s seat from Leans Democratic to Tossup following Assemblywoman Jean Stanfield’s entry into the race. A top recruit in the district, Stanfield has fully secured GOP support with fellow Assemblyman Ryan Peters declining to run. Stanfield would have no trouble making this Biden +7 district competitive and Addiego, who hasn’t stood for election as a Democrat, has uncertain re-election chances.
LD-16 (Bateman): No Republican-held seat in the Garden State’s Senate is more Democratic leaning than the 16th, held by Kip Bateman. Before we heard that Bateman was retiring, we rated the seat Leans Democratic. Since we don’t expect any other Republican to achieve Bateman’s success in the district any time soon, we will be moving the 16th to Likely Democratic. This currently makes it the only official flip in our set of ratings.
LD-39 (Vacant): With the sad passing of long-time Senator Gerald Cardinale, we will be moving the 39th from Likely Republican to Leans Republican. Without a household name like Cardinale on the ballot, we can expect a closer race in this Bergen County seat.
State Assembly Ratings
The State Assembly chamber remains Safe Democratic, but we have changes to discuss in the 8th district.
LD-8 (Stanfield & Peters): With two Republican held assembly slots being vacated due to retirements, it’s only natural to move the 8th from Leans Republican to Tossup as a precaution. This change also sets the Assembly race in line with the Senate race, which we expect to be very competitive.