1996 United States Senate election in New Jersey

The 1996 United States Senate election in New Jersey was held on November 5, 1996. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Bradley decided to retire instead of seeking a fourth term. The seat was won by Democratic congressman Robert Torricelli.

United States Senate election in New Jersey, 1996

← 1990 November 5, 1996 2002 →
  Robert Torricelli.jpg Dick Zimmer.jpg
Nominee Robert Torricelli Dick Zimmer
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 1,519,328 1,227,817
Percentage 52.7% 42.6%

1996 NJ Senate Map.svg
County results
Torricelli:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%
Zimmer:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%

U.S. Senator before election

Bill Bradley

Elected U.S. Senator

Robert Torricelli

Republican primaryEdit



Zimmer was the front-runner from the start, getting endorsements from Republican leaders across the state, including Gov. Christine Todd Whitman. Both DuHaime, a pro-life candidate, and La Rossa, a pro-gun candidate, attempted to portray Mr. Zimmer as too liberal for the party. But Zimmer treated the two challengers as if they did not exist.[1]


Republican Primary Results[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dick Zimmer 144,121 68.0%
Republican Richard DuHaime 42,155 19.9%
Republican Dick La Rossa 25,608 12.1%

General electionEdit



Democratic U.S. Representative Robert Torricelli easily won his party primary unopposed. Republican U.S. Representative Dick Zimmer won his party's nomination easily. Torricelli defeated Zimmer in the general election by 10 points, a margin less than President Bill Clinton, who carried New Jersey by almost 18%. Independents made up 4.8% of the vote.

Like other Democratic candidates around the country, Torricelli tried to portray "Zig-Zag Zimmer" as a clone of House Speaker Newt Gingrich and flip flopping on his positions on issues like Medicare, gun control and an increase in the minimum wage during the campaign. Zimmer tried to cast his opponent as a tax-and-spend liberal with ethical flaws. Military morale was also a part of the campaign.


General election results
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Robert G. Torricelli 1,519,328 52.7%
Republican Dick Zimmer 1,227,817 42.6%
Independent Richard J. Pezzullo 50,971 1.8%
Independent Paul A. Woomer 15,183 0.5%
Independent Olga L. Rodriguez 14,319 0.5%
Independent Mark Wise 13,683 0.5%
Independent Wilburt Kornegay 11,107 0.4%
Independent Steven J. Baeli 7,749 0.3%
Democratic hold Swing {{{swing}}}

See alsoEdit