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2002 United States Senate election in New Jersey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2002 United States Senate election in New Jersey

← 1996 November 5, 2002 2008 →
Frank Lautenberg.jpg
No image.svg
Nominee Frank Lautenberg Doug Forrester
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 1,138,193 928,439
Percentage 53.9% 44.0%

2002 NJ Senate Map.svg
County results
Lautenberg:      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%
Forrester:      50–60%      60–70%

U.S. senator before election

Robert Torricelli

Elected U.S. Senator

Frank Lautenberg

The 2002 United States Senate election in New Jersey was held on November 5, 2002. The race was to originally feature Democrat Robert Torricelli against former West Windsor Township mayor Douglas Forrester, who had won the Republican nomination. Torricelli had won the seat when former Senator Bill Bradley elected not to run for a fourth term in 1996.

Torricelli, however, had been the target of an ethics probe and eventually dropped out of the race in late September 2002. Democrats sought to replace him with Frank Lautenberg, who had been the state's senior senator before retiring from New Jersey's other Senate seat at the end of the 106th United States Congress.

After legal proceedings aimed at forcing Torricelli's name to remain on the ballot were filed by Forrester's campaign, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that Lautenberg could remain on the ballot.

In the general election, Lautenberg defeated Forrester by a 9.9% margin, winning a fourth, non-consecutive term as a U.S. senator. At 78, Lautenberg became the oldest non-incumbent to win a Senate election.[1] Lautenberg became the state's junior senator for the second time when he was sworn in on January 3, 2003. (Jon Corzine, who was elected to Lautenberg's old Senate seat, became the senior senator in 2003 as Lautenberg's previous eighteen years in the Senate were not counted as he was starting over.)

Democratic primary


Although Torricelli would later withdraw from the race, he was unopposed for the Democratic nomination on June 4.

Republican primary



Republican primary results[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Doug Forrester 97,275 44.56%
Republican Diane Allen 80,476 36.87%
Republican John J. Matheussen 40,549 18.58%
Total votes 218,300 100.00%


As noted above, Torricelli dropped out of the race on September 30 due to ethical problems and poor poll numbers against Forrester, a relatively unknown opponent.[3] The New Jersey Democratic Party convinced the retired Lautenberg to join the race after Torricelli dropped out. In the case of The New Jersey Democratic Party v. Samson, 175 N.J. 178 (2002), Forrester sued to stop Democratic Party efforts to have Lautenberg replace Torricelli. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled unanimously on October 2 that the party could switch Lautenberg's name in for Sen. Torricelli's on the ballot.[4] Forrester received the endorsement of President George W. Bush.[5]


Poll source Date(s)
of error
Lautenberg (D)
Forrester (R)
Other /
SurveyUSA October 27–29, 2002 732 (LV) ± 3.7% 51% 41% 8%


2002 United States Senate election in New Jersey
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Frank Lautenberg 1,138,193 53.88%
Republican Doug Forrester 928,439 43.95%
Green Ted Glick 24,308 1.15%
Libertarian Elizabeth Macron 12,558 0.59%
Conservative Norman E. Wahner 6,404 0.30%
Socialist Greg Pason 2,702 0.13%
Total votes 2,112,604 100.00%
Democratic hold

See also


  1. ^ Key:
    A – all adults
    RV – registered voters
    LV – likely voters
    V – unclear


  1. ^ Would Ted Strickland be the oldest freshman senator ever elected? Here's his competition.. Vox. 25 February 2015.
  2. ^ "NJ US Senate - R Primary". OurCampaigns.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Remarks by the President at Doug Forrester for Senate Event, White House press release dated September 23, 2002
This page was last edited on 18 April 2021, at 17:19
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