Big Obama win could spell bad news for GOP in local races

As Barack Obama hovers around the 60% mark in New Jersey, Democrats could be the beneficiary of some significant coattails. While Democrats are already favored in two key congressional races where Republican incumbents are retiring, an Obama landslide could offer coattails in several other competitive races: in Bergen County, where County Clerk Kathleen Donovan is seeking a fifth term, and where Democrats are defending three Freeholder seats following the indictment of County Chairman Joseph Ferriero; in Monmouth County, where Democrats need to win one Freeholder seat to win majority control; in Somerset County, where Democrats now have an edge in voter registration for the first time in state history; in races for County Clerk and Freeholder in Burlington County; in races for Atlantic County Sheriff and Freeholder; and in Freeholder contests in Cumberland and Salem counties.

The big upset of the night, if there is one, would come in the fifth district, where blind Rabbi Dennis Shulman is running a strong and competitively financed challenge to three-term Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett.

When Ronald Reagan won 60% against Walter Mondale in 1984, Republicans — helped by GOP-friendly redistricting) picked up one congressional seat, and won Freeholder races everywhere but Camden, Gloucester and Middlesex counties, including two seats in Hudson. When Lyndon Johnson won 66% in 1964, Democrats picked up four House seats. Big Obama win could spell bad news for GOP in local races