Despite years of talk that the 38th legislative district in Bergen County was a swing zone ripe for Republicans, state Sen. Bob Gordon secured re-election with a decisive, 14-point victory Tuesday.
“I am obviously very pleased,” Gordon told Observer. “This was my 11th election and it was a very challenging one. I think we have converted District 38 from what was once one of the most competitive districts in the states to a solidly Democratic district. There is a celebration going on here and well deserved.”
Kelly Langschultz, a New Milford councilwoman and mother of four, claimed that Gordon was ineffective on transit, a key issue in a district rich with commuters on the outskirts of New York.
She needled Gordon from months over his support of last year’s 23-cents-per-gallon gas tax hike. Despite the fact that Langschultz is a Republican, the candidate tied Gordon to Gov. Chris Chrstie.
Gordon was first elected to the Senate in 2008 and served in the Assembly from 2004 until 2007. He dismissed Langschultz’s criticism, calling her a political novice who could not appreciate his record in the Legislature on transit issues.
Gordon’s running mates, Assemblymen Tim Eustace and Joe Lagana (both D-Bergen), also won re-election, defeating Glen Rock Councilman Bill Leonard and Republican Assembly candidate Chris Wolf.
The race was marked by a June shakeup, when attorney Matt Seymour unexpectedly withdrew his Assembly candidacy and changed his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat. That departure left the Bergen County Republican Organization scrambling. Seymour was eventually replaced on the ticket by Leonard.
When Seymour left the ticket, he claimed his decision stemmed from a lack of support form the county GOP on a number of his top agenda points including increasing county resources for domestic violence victims. At that time, Seymour also announced he would be backing Democrat Phil Murphy for governor over Republican Kim Guadagno.
Two other Bergen County districts that normally swing Republican, the 39th and 40th, were both closer than expected. While Republican incumbents Gerry Cardinale and Kristin Corrado won their Senate races, Gordon said that the Democrats in Bergen County are hopeful that those districts could flip in the future.
“We did phenomenally well in districts 39 and 40,” Gordon said. “I think it is just a matter of time until we capture the seats in those legislative districts.”