Democrats hold on to 52 state Assembly seats; Republicans gain 3 positions

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Democrats held on to 52 out of 80 seats in the New Jersey Assembly, while making gains in local races in Somerset and Burlington counties. But Republicans won a state Senate seat and two more seats in the Assembly.

“Guess what? A moderate Republican actually won. And I’m proud of that,” says Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick.

Bramnick and his running mate kept their seats in the Assembly. Republicans also held several suburban districts despite strong challenges from Democrats and the unpopularity of President Donald Trump in those areas.

But Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy says that he saw this past election as a success for his party.

"Would I have liked to have won? You betcha. I want to win them all, let there be no doubt about it,” he says. “But the fact that we came as close as we did gives me a lot of confidence that the best days are ahead of us."

While Republicans took two Assembly seats and a state Senate seat from the Democrats, Democrats held a majority in the Assembly. They also have control of the Senate and the governor’s office.

MORE: Complete election results

“The other side’s doing an end zone dance in an increasingly small end zone. An increasingly smaller field,” says Murphy.

But New Jersey GOP Chair Doug Steinhardt says that gaining three new positions is a good starting point.

"I'm not out here doing a victory lap like we won the Super Bowl or anything, OK? We didn't win a game like 56-nothing. We won by a field goal,” he says.

Aside from the state Senate race in southern New Jersey, where Trump won by 9 points in 2016, Steinhardt says the elections were the Murphy midterms.

"This is a governor who said that if taxes are our issue, we should move. If taxes are our issue, we don't belong here,” Steinhardt says. “And to hear that from the folks who would never normally come out to the polls, said to me that it was resonating with people and it was resonating in places that really mattered."

Steinhardt said he was already getting ready for the 2020 election.

"We are going to do our part to help the president where we can. I think our part to help the president in a state like New Jersey is pick up some key congressional seats to help get the House back," he says.

The new Assembly members will be sworn into office in January.

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