Bashaw and Serrano Glassner Republican Senate showdown will test New Jersey ‘county line’ against Donald Trump

When New Jersey Republicans go to the polls ahead of Tuesday’s primary, they will not only choose their candidate for the U.S. Senate, but will test whether former President Donald Trump has more power than the customary control of the state party establishment.

The GOP primary candidates are Curtis Bashaw, a hotelier and developer from Cape May County who is supported by much of his party’s establishment, and Christine Serrano Glassner, a mayor from the northeastern corner of the state who enjoys the support of the former president and has a personal connection to him and is campaigning for him MAGA database.

The winner will face the Democratic nominee in the general election, who, absent a direct challenge from Senator Bob Menendez during his ongoing corruption trial, will most certainly be Andy Kim. Kim, currently a congressman representing New Jersey’s 3rd District, will have an advantage in November given the state’s overwhelmingly Democratic electorate.

Primary occurs when the political establishment of the state changes. Kim and state Democrats this year moved away from New Jersey’s long-standing “county line,” a system that allows counties to place party-backed candidates prominently on primary voters’ ballots – in some cases increasing the likelihood of an endorsed candidate’s success by as much as 40%.

But in March, a state judge ruled that New Jersey Republicans were voting at least in this primary must maintain the system of district lines, and Bashaw — endorsed by 13 of the state’s 21 Republican committees — should be poised to reap the benefits of real estate with major votes.

That is, unless Trump’s endorsement of Serrano Glassner can replace the county’s long-held advantage.

“It’s unusual for a candidate with lineal support to lose,” said Micah Rasmussen, director of the Rebovich Policy Institute in New Jersey. “[Bashaw’s] she got organizational support… but she has lightning in a bottle with Trump’s support. This is the real wild card.”

Mendham Borough Mayor Serrano Glassner included the former president’s stamp of approval on her campaign website, which included a video of the moment Trump called Serrano Glassner a “fantastic woman” during his Wildwood Beach rally in May.

Trump continues to mention personal ties to Serrano Glassner – her husband Michael Glassner is one of the former president’s long-time advisers — before stating that he decided to endorse after learning that Bashaw was “[Chris] Christie” – a reference to the former New Jersey governor and former Trump ally he turned against the former president in the last primary election.

Campaign finance records show Bashaw donated $3,300 to Christie’s presidential campaign last year.

In response to Trump’s comments, a campaign spokesman said the candidate was “Republican Curtis Bashaw supported by thousands of Republicans throughout the state of New Jersey.”

Bashaw made no mention of Trump in the early months of his campaign. Then Bashaw in March For the first time he publicly stated that he supported the former president.

“The election is a binary choice and you have to make a choice,” Bashaw told The Inquirer less than a week before the primary, mentioning his disapproval of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign wars and U.S. border security.

“I believe that President Trump is the right person to win this election for the country,” Bashaw continued, before adding the caveat that his “mission was different” than Trump’s. “I will work for New Jerseyans,” he said. “I think it’s time for Republicans to unite — we’re not all the same.”

Democrat stronghold

Throughout the conversation with Trump, political scientists like Rasmussen warned that candidates supporting the MAGA movement rarely perform well in New Jersey and that the brand could do more harm than good for the GOP candidate.

“[Trump’s] he was really particularly bad for New Jersey Republicans because he did poorly in the suburbs — it’s really New Jersey,” Rasmussen said. “Because he performed poorly among more educated voters, he performed poorly in New Jersey. He never ran here… he was a nuisance to other Republicans.”

The catch, Rasmussen said, is that MAGA-supporting Republicans tend to do well in primaries compared to more moderate GOP candidates, drawing overwhelming support from highly engaged voters in their base.

Whichever Republican wins the nomination will face an uphill battle in the Democratic stronghold.

New Jersey hasn’t elected a Republican senator since the early 1970s, which Rasmussen said gave Garden State Democrats the longest streak of control of the U.S. Senate only behind Hawaii – even though the state elected three Republican governors during the same period.

As New Jersey voters approach the primary, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 934,000. Rasmussen said that for a GOP candidate to pull off an upset, he would have to do exceptionally well with the state’s vast number of unaffiliated voters.

Both Bashaw and Serrano Glassner’s campaigns focus on inflation and immigration, two of them the majority of the electorate concerns this cycle — blaming high prices on Washington bureaucrats and calling for tighter controls at the US southern border.

Bashaw, who bills himself as a political outsider, draws on his entrepreneurial experience as the founder of Cape Resorts, which includes the Cape May convention hall, and his history as a job creator in the South Jersey area.

“Whatever the Biden administration wants to say about macroeconomic indicators is not being heard at the kitchen tables or in the warehouses of our small businesses,” Bashaw said. “There is a pressure point on inflation that demoralizes people.”

Meanwhile, Serrano Glassner railed against presumptive Democratic nominee Kim as well as the “corrupt Democratic machine that enabled Bob Menendez to introduce the gold bar,” according to materials provided to The Inquirer by her campaign that refer to a bribe that Menendez accuses Menendez of accepting. from an Egyptian citizen.

Such name-calling is inextricably linked to Trump’s political playbook, which political scientist Rasmussen said GOP candidates often emulate in primaries before taking “two steps” back to the center after securing the nomination.

“We’ll see how it goes,” Rasmussen said of a possible change in rhetoric after Tuesday. “New Jersey Republicans are not necessarily the biggest MAGA voters.”

Get in Touch


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Latest Posts