Democratic incumbent Vin Gopal holds on to Senate seat in competitive New Jersey coastal district
Incumbent state Sen. Vin Gopal won reelection on Tuesday in his closely contested coastal New Jersey district, keeping a key swing seat under Democratic control.
Gopal defeated Republican Steve Dnistrian in the 11th Legislative District in Monmouth County. His victory delivers Gopal a third term in the Senate and means Democrats successfully fended off a challenger in an increasingly moderate district.
The campaign was among the most heavily contested this year, and saw more political spending than any other race, according to October figures from the state’s campaign finance watchdog.
In an interview earlier this year, Dnistrian said a top issue he heard from voters was concern that parents didn’t have enough control over school districts. The issue made headlines when the state attorney general sued three Monmouth County school districts, charging they violated the state’s anti-discrimination law with policies that called on officials to notify parents if their children had come out as transgender. State school guidelines and a 2017 law call for keeping a student’s orientation confidential.
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Gopal and Democrats aimed to keep the campaign centered on Democrats’ efforts over the last year to provide property tax rebates. The Democrats also focused heavily on abortion, arguing that a GOP-led Legislature could begin to roll back abortion protections in the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
All 80 seats in the Assembly and all 40 in the Senate were up for grabs. Democrats have more than a million-voter registration advantage over Republicans, and they also controlled the redistricting process last year when they had little incentive to redraw maps unfavorably to their party. The GOP hasn’t controlled a chamber of the Legislature in more than two decades.
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The district, which includes Asbury Park, Colts Neck and Freehold, was controlled by Republicans until 2017, when Gopal won there. Two Democrat-held Assembly seats in the district flipped to the GOP in 2021, though Gopal held on to keep the seat that year.