- - Thursday, January 2, 2020

New Jersey is primed for a Republican comeback in 2020 at a scale not seen in more than 40 years. The state has caught the interest of both the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the White House, in at least four if not five congressional districts that were lost by wafer-thin margins in 2018. What’s exceptional is that the Garden State may also be in play for the U.S. Senate and President Trump.

New Jersey residents have been squirming since the unpopular Chris Christie was replaced by socialist-leaning Phil Murphy. So much so that they initiated the first Recall of a Governor in New Jersey history. Then, in 2019, the citizens rose up and delivered Republican victories across the state in eight out of eight battleground races, breaking the Democratic trend of increasing their statewide control that started in 1993 by winning seats in both the both the State Senate and State Assembly. 

Now, with Cory Booker’s failing presidential campaign burning through millions of dollars, and his poll numbers nearing 0 percent, the unpopular senator is up for a rude awakening.

Mr. Booker has less than $100,000 in his Senate campaign war chest. Furthermore, just last week Bernie Sanders’ state chairman — a Princeton-educated, African-American, Newark, New Jersey-native — Lawrence Hamm entered into a primary fight with the disliked Mr. Booker who will have a very difficult time even making it to the general election.

On the Republican side, GOP leadership has lined up behind 34-year-old Indian-American Hirsh Singh. Hirsh Singh — an engineer by trade who has over a decade in government contracting experience — is an up and coming Republican star endorsed by RNC Committeeman Bill Palatucci and has deep ties to conservative, libertarian and establishment Republican circles.



New Jersey is one of the most diverse states in the nation and sports one of the highest Indian-American populations in the country. The Indian-American community has long been allied with the Hispanic and Jewish communities, and with a well-liked, young and connected Hirsh Singh — whose strategy helped Republican successes in 2019 — leading the way, New Jersey is primed for massive Republican gains.

President Trump has a long history of both business and personal experience in New Jersey. In 2016, the Garden State was considered a lost cause for the presidential race and even though the entire Republican apparatus was moved to Pennsylvania, Mr. Trump received 1.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton’s 2.1 million — while 2.3 million did not cast a ballot.

In the past weeks, Congressman Jeff Van Drew flipped from Democrat to Republican and with Mr. Trump’s economy touting the lowest unemployment numbers for minorities and women since the founding of the nation, the political calculus has started shifting.

With a young dynamic candidate for U.S. Senate, a slew of congressional candidates including women, minority and establishment congressional candidates running across the state, New Jersey is ripe for a Republican resurgence.

It would be remiss if we did not talk about what Gov. Phil Murphy has done to create such an environment.

New Jersey currently sports the highest property taxes in the country, and Mr. Murphy is attempting to raise those property taxes even more. Mr. Murphy passed a “rain tax” which is an attempt to tax residents who have too much rain washing off their property into drains. He also recently passed an unpopular law allowing for illegal immigrants to have access to driver’s licenses.

Under the Democratic leadership of the likes of Mr. Murphy and Mr. Booker, New Jersey has been following the policy footsteps of California with Mr. Murphy going so far as saying he wants to turn New Jersey into the California of the East Coast. Clearly, California has taught us much about what we should not do.

Further, the northern half of the state, which travels on a daily basis between New York and New Jersey has suffered from a lack of infrastructure funding and a crisis of competence causing a consistent commuter nightmare. We can add to that a public health crisis with the lead-contaminated drinking water of Newark, which can be laid at the feet of Cory Booker’s time as mayor there.

On top of all of this, a recent poll showed that more than 44 percent of New Jersey residents are thinking of leaving the Garden State. If things stay the way they are, it looks like the Republican Party finally has a chance to retake the state and create a healthy environment for everyone after several decades of darkness.

• Rick Amato is a former financial adviser for Merrill Lynch and founded the Amato Wealth Management Group. He is currently the host of “Politics And Profits with Rick Amato.” Find out more at amatotalk.com.

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