Frank Lautenberg becomes the first U.S. Senator from New Jersey to win a fifth term, but didn’t set any records for winning percentages. His 56% against former U.S. Rep. Richard Zimmer was his career best, but he didn’t approach the 60% mark that Bill Bradley, Clifford Case and Harrison Williams had achieved back in a time when the state was more politically competitive. Still, the 84-year-old Democrat is secure for the next six years, and did not have to sweat much after pushing back a primary challenge from U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews.
Zimmer had trouble raising money, but his 42% was respectable, considering the national political environment. And he broke a record: the most votes cast for a Republican statewide candidate in New Jersey history — topping Bob Franks‘ total votes in the 2000 Senate campaign by 360.
If Lautenberg doesn’t run again in 2014, look for U.S. Rep.-elect John Adler to seek the U.S. Senate seat.