State Sen. Jeff Van Drew and Atlantic County attorney Seth Grossman will square off in November for the right to represent New Jersey's 2nd Congressional District in U.S. House of Representatives.
Election officials said voter turnout was light.
Van Drew, a Democrat, handily defeated challengers Tanzie Youngblood, Will Cunningham and Nate Kleinman, all of whom challenged him from the progressive wing of the party. He had support from party leaders in all eight counties in the 2nd District and was surrounded by supporters Tuesday night at the Lobster Loft in Sea Isle City.
Grossman won a stunning upset over Linwood businessman Hirsh Singh, despite not raising much money throughout the primary campaign and not gaining a single nomination in any county during the primary convention season. He tallied results at the Shore Diner in Egg Harbor Township on Tuesday, while Singh posted up at McCullough’s Pub & Restaurant in the township.
The other two Republican candidates in the race were Sam Fiocchi and Bob Turkavage.
“All this work, all this struggle, all this money and effort just gets us to the starting line,” Grossman said, after celebrating with his supporters at the diner. “The Republican party in South Jersey is in very good shape.”
Grossman said the voters made their choice and that he believes he has a “very good chance” of winning in November.
Singh called Grossman to congratulate him.
Following the race, National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Steve Stivers endorsed Grossman and congratulated him on his victory.
“Congratulations to Seth Grossman on his victory tonight. I look forward to working with Seth to expose Trenton insider Jeff Van Drew for his record of shady backroom deals and tax increases on New Jersey families,” Stivers said in a statement.
During his victory speech after a successful Democratic primary, Van Drew mentioned that Atlantic City is moving forward and diversifying its economy,
"We need more than just casino gaming," he said.
Van Drew said his primary opponents put a lot of energy and into this, and he wished them the best.
"Washington is broken," he said. "As Americans, we can, and we will do better."
Van Drew raised the most money during the primary campaign. According to the latest filings to the Federal Election Commission, he raised $631,539, while Grossman raised just $22,528, with $3,550 coming from loans. Singh, meanwhile, raised $126,603, which included $45,000 in loans.
Democrats have eyed the 2nd District as key to retaking the House.
Van Drew has long been considered a moderate Democrat and has pulled large amounts of votes from Cape May County, which is reliably Republican.
Grossman has sided with President Donald Trump on a number of issues, most notably stopping what he calls “unsustainable immigration policies.” Singh has also sided with the president, calling for Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, to be fired.
Trump won the 2nd District by 4.6 percentage points in 2016. But the district voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.
Atlantic City Councilman Jesse Kurtz said while at Grossman’s party that he saw a path to victory as the night continued, and that it's time is to focus on November.
“This victory is an example of how hard work, dedication and a principled message can win in circumstances that may seem difficult and challenging at first,” he said.
Staff Writer Vincent Jackson contributed to this report.