Andy Kim must outflank Tammy Murphy — and the NJ ballot ‘line.’ Can he succeed?

November 20, 2023

But what about the line?

It’s an intriguing scenario. And yet …

There is a stubborn thing called “the line” or the “county line.” And there is a stubborn thing called history. And facts.

The reality is that candidates who snap up the endorsements of the state’s influential county party leaders and regional power brokers often are bracketed in a premier position on the primary ballot column, or line, with other candidates who have won the blessing. Getting the line often almost always leads to a victory in the June primary.

Julia Sass Rubin, a professor at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University who studies the power of New Jersey’s county party system, examined 45 congressional contests between 2002 and 2022 in which county political support was split between two candidates.

She found the line county line blessing, on average, bestowed a 38 percentage point advantage to candidates. “In every one of those 45 races, the county line was completely deterministic,’’ she said.

The early, out-of-the-gate push for party support suggest that Tammy Murphy is on pace for a clean sweep. She has already snapped up the endorsements of Hudson County — which doubled as a humiliating rebuke of Menendez, his home base — and Camden County., November 20, 2023

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