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1989 New Jersey gubernatorial election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1989 New Jersey gubernatorial election

← 1985 November 7, 1989 1993 →
James Florio headshot 1983.jpg
Jim Courter.jpg
Nominee James Florio Jim Courter
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 1,379,937 838,553
Percentage 61.2% 37.2%

1989 NJ GovElect Result.svg
County results
Florio:      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%
Courter:      50-60%

Governor before election

Thomas Kean

Elected Governor

James Florio

The 1989 New Jersey gubernatorial election was a race for Governor of New Jersey held on November 7, 1989. Incumbent Republican Governor Thomas Kean was term-limited having been elected to served two consecutive terms. Democrat James Florio, a U.S. Representative from the 1st district and a two-time unsuccessful candidate for Governor, defeated 12th district Republican Representative Jim Courter in a 24-point landslide.

This was the only gubernatorial election from 1977 to 2013 where Somerset County voted for a Democratic candidate.

Primary elections

Primary elections for the Republican and Democratic parties were held on Tuesday June 6, 1989.

Republican primary



Republican Party primary results[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jim Courter 112,326 29.02
Republican W. Cary Edwards 85,313 21.29
Republican Chuck Hardwick 82,392 21.29
Republican William Gormley 66,430 17.17
Republican Gerald Cardinale 32,250 8.33
Republican Tom Blomquist 3,791 0.98
Republican Lois Rand 2,553 0.66
Republican James A. Kolyer 1,963 0.51
Total votes 387,018 100.00

Democratic primary



Democratic Party primary results[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic James Florio 251,979 68.23
Democratic Barbara Boggs Sigmund 61,033 16.53
Democratic Alan Karcher 56,311 15.25
Total votes 369,323 100.00

General Election


Major party candidates

  • Jim Courter, Republican, U.S. Representative
  • James Florio, Democratic, U.S. Representative

Other independent candidates[3]

  • Tom Fuscaldo, One Eye On, owner of a television antenna business
  • Daniel M. Karlan, Libertarian, computer programmer
  • Catherine Renee Sedwick, Socialist Workers
  • Michael Ziruolo, Better Affordable Government, trucking consultant


Florio, who had run in the Democratic primary for Governor in 1977 and lost in an extremely close general election in 1981 to outgoing Governor Thomas Kean, stressed in this campaign that he would govern closer to Kean than the conservative Congressman Courter and that despite the economic growth under Kean and the Reagan administrations, he would lead an active government to combat potential overdevelopment and pollution.[4] Following a Supreme Court ruling that would allow states to impose regulations on abortions, the pro-choice Florio won the votes of those in favor of abortion rights while Courter who comprised an anti-abortion voting record in Congress sought to moderate his views which led to distrust among voters.[5][6] To moderate his positions, Florio promised a wider use of the state death penalty for drug crimes and not to raise taxes (the latter promise would be broken in 1990 when he signed a $2.8-billion tax increase which would lead to his 1993 defeat).[7][8]


New Jersey Gubernatorial Election, 1989[9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic James Florio 1,379,937 61.23%
Republican Jim Courter 838,553 37.21%
Libertarian Daniel M. Karlan 11,878 0.53%
Independent Michael Ziruolo 10,210 0.45%
Independent Tom Fuscaldo 6,989 0.31%
Socialist Workers Catherine Renee Sedwick 6,197 0.28%
Majority 541,384 24.02%
Turnout 2,253,764
Democratic gain from Republican Swing


  1. ^ a b c Saffron, Inga (May 16, 1989). "With Tough Odds, 3 Gop Hopefuls Rely On Ideas Instead Of Connections". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Candidates for the Office of Governor - State of New Jersey - Primary Election" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. 1989. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  3. ^ Sullivan, Joseph F. (November 5, 1989). "4 Who Say They Are New Jersey Alternatives". The New York Times. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  4. ^ Kerr, Peter (November 8, 1993). "THE 1989 ELECTIONS: Governor-Elect MAN IN THE NEWS: James Joseph Florio; Careful and Determined". The New York Times. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  5. ^ Apple, Jr., R. W. (November 9, 1989). "The 1989 Elections: The Abortion Question Backlash at the Polls; Major Setbacks Prompt G.O.P. Debate About Lessons for Future Candidates". The New York Times. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  6. ^ Paolantonia, S. A. (October 4, 1989). "Statewide Poll Shows Abortion Issue Hurting Courter". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  7. ^ Paolantonia, S. A. (June 7, 1989). "Top N.j. Race To Match Florio And Courter". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  8. ^ Brownstein, Ronald (November 1, 1993). "Voters Seem Dissatisfied, Uncertain on Election Eve : Campaigns: Gubernatorial, mayoral posts at stake. No sweeping winds of change gauged in off-year races". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  9. ^ "Candidates for the Office of Governor – State of New Jersey -- General Election" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. 1989. Retrieved June 16, 2015.

External links

This page was last edited on 26 January 2021, at 19:07
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