Elections seem to get more baffling each season, but this isn’t the first time New Jersey has run into some curious situations.
Biting the Voter in the Neck? One of the most controversial candidates was Jonathon “The Impaler” Sharkey, who filed to run for President in 2004 and 2008 as an Independent candidate. He was familiar to Jerseyans, however, as reported by www.LiveScience.com. He had run for Congress in New Jersey as the Republican candidate in 1999, in Indiana with the Reform Party in 2000, and once again as Republican in Florida in 2001, and governor of Minnesota in 2006.
Sharkey proclaimed himself to be a Luciferian, vampire, professional boxer and wrestler under the name of Rocky "Hurricane" Flash. He founded the Vampires, Witches and Pagans Party in 2005, a party officially recognized by United States Federal Election Committee.
During his 2006 run, when asked about violent criminals during a press conference, Sharkey told reporters that he would impale murderers, rapists and other dangerous offenders on the capitol lawn, just as Vlad the Impaler supposedly did in Romania during the mid-1400s.
Honest Abe Never Carried the State The Democrats met in April 1860 amid great turmoil to select their candidate for President. Northern Democrats felt that Stephen Douglas had the best chance to defeat the “Black Republicans” and nominated him. Southern Democrats considered Douglas a traitor because he wanted to let territories choose not to have slavery, and stormed out of the convention. At a separate convention, southern Democrats chose then vice president John C. Breckenridge. But troubles were only beginning, according to the Independence Hall Association in Philadelphia.
The Republicans met in Chicago and recognized that the Democrat’s turmoil actually gave them a chance to win. They needed a candidate who could carry the North with a majority of the electoral votes. To do that, they needed someone who could win New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana and Pennsylvania — four important states that remained uncertain. Abraham Lincoln emerged as the best choice as the symbol of the frontier, hard work, the self-made man and the American dream. His debates with Douglas in early 1860 had made him a well-known national figure.
A number of politicians and citizens calling themselves the Constitutional Union Party nominated John Bell of Tennessee, a wealthy slaveholder. They were for moderation, deciding the best way was to take no stand at all on the issues dividing the north and the south.
With four candidates in the field, Lincoln received only 40 percent of the popular vote, but garnered 180 electoral votes — enough to narrowly win. Abe Lincoln failed to carry New Jersey, losing to Douglas in 1860. (He lost again, four years later, to George B. McClellan.)
A few weeks after the election, South Carolina seceded from the Union.
The states that Lincoln won are shown in red, Breckenridge in green, Bell in orange and Douglas in brown. In 1864, Douglas won only New Jersey, Kentucky and Delaware.
Nominating the Birthday Boy One of the unlikeliest of host cities for a party convention was also the scene of one the most unusual moments in convention history. Democratic delegates attending the 1964 gathering in Atlantic City were greeted with the usual pomp and spectacle, but with one special twist, according to the History Channel website www.History.com.
President Lyndon Johnson, never one to shy away from public adoration, had arranged for the final night of the convention to fall on his 56th birthday. His acceptance speech was followed with a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” from the crowd, and topped off not just by balloons but fireworks.
There’s no record of birthday cake being served to the thousands of attendees.
Oops, There Goes a Vote Because of the 2010 Census Reapportionment, New Jersey lost one electoral vote, giving it 14 through the 2020 presidential election, according to the political website www.270towin.com.
New Jersey, one of the 13 original colonies, joined the Union in December 1787 and has participated in all 57 presidential elections. Thanks to the density of our population, the state has more electoral votes per square mile than any state except Rhode Island. Our 14 electoral votes make it a rich prize. New Jersey has gone Democratic in the last six elections, after voting Republican in eight out of the previous 10. Barack Obama won the state over Mitt Romney by a margin of 58 percent to 41 percent in 2012.
Back When New Jersey Women Voted. Really. The Founding fathers’ electoral college didn't do much for the Founding mothers, wrote Akhi Reed Amar and Vikram David Amar in a legal analysis, “History, Slavery, Sexism, the South and the Electoral College.”
In a system of direct national election, any state that chose to enfranchise its women would have automatically doubled its voting power in presidential elections. The era of universal white manhood suffrage in the early 19th century saw many other restrictions on voting. New Jersey was the one state that had allowed women property holders to vote. Women lost that right in the early 1800s with the introduction of universal white manhood suffrage.
Under the electoral college, each state got a fixed number of electoral votes based on population, regardless of how many or few citizens were allowed to vote or actually voted. As with slaves, what mattered was simply how many women resided in a state, not how many could vote there.