Donald Trump won a resounding majority of Ocean County’s votes on Tuesday – not a surprise in a heavily-Republican county – helping to further seal up his nomination as the GOP’s presidential candidate.
Trump won 87 percent of the county’s Republican vote, 44,257 votes in all, easily besting Ted Cruz’s 2,319 votes and John Kasich’s 3,697 votes. The GOP had a 45 percent voter turnout for the primary, extremely high, especially given few local races on the ballot.
The Democratic vote was much closer, however frontrunner Hillary Clinton earned a clear majority of votes cast. Clinton won 19,392 votes over challenger Bernie Sanders’ 16,189 votes. In all, 49 percent of Ocean County’s 72,392 voters turned out.
In other races, Tuesday night’s primary election saw an upset in the Ocean County Democrat organization’s congressional campaign. Their chosen candidate, Jim Keady – a Spring Lake resident who owns the Lighthouse Tavern in Waretown – fell hard to Frederick John LaVergne, a mortgage banker from Delanco, who was backed by the Burlington County organization.
LaVergne won 32,461 votes compared to 19,196 for Keady. In Ocean County, Keady won 77 percent of the Democratic vote, but ultimately failed to overcome the Burlington vote, where there is a much higher number of registered Democrats. LaVergne will face incumbent GOP Rep. Tom MacArthur in the general election. MacArthur is running for his second term in the third district, which is considered to be relatively GOP-friendly.
Party insiders also told Shorebeat that there was disorganization in the Keady campaign, which did little in the way of advertising or public outreach. Keady is well-known for once being told by Gov. Chris Christie to “sit down and shut up” when he interrupted a Christie press conference in Belmar to mark the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy’s landfall.
LaVergne told Shorebeat late Tuesday night that he visited 38 of the 53 towns in the third congressional district Tuesday and that his campaign would issue a more formal statement on the race and speak to reporters Wednesday.
LaVergne, in 2014, ran as an independent candidate against MacArthur.