The race between Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur and his challenger, Democrat Andy Kim, is too close to be called, and will most likely only end following a recount. With 99% of districts reporting, MacArthur had a lead of 2400 votes, but the margin, at less than half a percentage point, is too small to definitively crown him the winner, as provisional and absentee ballots which can swing the vote lead over to Kim are yet to be tallied.
Speaking to supporters Tuesday late evening, Kim implored them to continue believing in him and his campaign, telling them there’s “a little bit longer to go”. MacArthur did not address his fans, but Ocean County Republican Chairman George Gilmore said he is confident that MacArthur will continue to lead in votes even after counting the provisional and absentee ballots.
The razor-thin race is not surprising, given Democratic gains on the national level, as well as a split district, with Ocean County leaning more conservative, and Burlington County favoring liberals. As expected, Ocean County voted overwhelmingly for MacArthur, while Burlington County voted heavily for Kim.
The race was filled with accusations hurled by both candidates, with MacArthur calling Kim a “tax cheat” for being required to return a tax refund following his move from D.C. back to New Jersey, and Kim declaring that MacArthur is beholden to special interest groups, specifically those in the health insurance industry, who donated to MacArthur’s campaign.
Outside groups on the Republican and Democratic sides poured massive resources into the race in the leadup to the election, including Paul Ryan’s Congressional Leadership Fund paying for ads on behalf of MacArthur, and former vice-president and probable 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden stumping for Kim in the district.
MacArthur, 58, is looking to secure his third term in the House of Representatives, while Kim, 36, is looking to earn his first term to the House, after serving as a national security advisor in the Obama White House.