OCEAN COUNTY – Ocean County has been a Republican stronghold for decades. Looking at the election figures this year, it continues to be so. However, there was a dip in the number of people who voted for a Republican governor compared to the last race.
In 2013, Ocean County was responsible for 125,781 of Chris Christie’s votes. He ran with Kim Guadagno as his running mate. Their opposition, Democrats Barbara Buono and Milly Silva, received just 37,930 votes.
In 2017, there were 97,737 votes for Kim Guadagno and Carlos Rendo. There were 56,279 votes for Phil Murphy and Sheila Oliver.
Guadagno received 28,044 fewer votes in 2017 than she and Christie did in 2013. The Democrat choice received 18,349 more votes.
It must be noted that in 2013, there were a total of 169,870 ballots cast out of 379,230 registered voters. Compare this to 2017, where there were 159,880 voters out of a total 400,098 registered voters. So, even though there were more registered voters, 10,000 fewer did not vote.
The 2017 figures were reported by the county Board of Elections and have not been certified yet.
In 2010, Christie was in Berkeley, thanking them for their support, with Congressman-elect Jon Runyan.
“He now knows how important Ocean County is for a Republican to win in New Jersey,” he said to the crowd at the time.
Wyatt Earp, chairman of the Ocean County Democrats, said this year was different.
“Democrats got energized. We got excited,” he said.
“We might not agree with everything, but a large group of Ocean County are realizing the Republicans don’t have all the answers,” he said. “The Republican party today is not what our parents and grandparents had.”
He does think that there might have been some buyer’s remorse – people who voted for Christie or Donald Trump that are now regretting their decisions.
In local elections, the Democrats didn’t make much of a dent. In most races, Republicans soundly defeated their challengers – if they had any challengers at all. The big exceptions were in Brick and Toms River. In Brick, the Democrat team won across the board. In Toms River, three of the four Township Council spots fell to Democrats.
“People didn’t think they were being listened to” in Toms River, he said.
George Gilmore, the chairman of the Ocean County Republicans, did not return calls for comment.