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.
Torricelli: 40–50% 50–60% 60–70% 70–80%
Zimmer: 40–50% 50–60% 60–70%
- Richard DuHaime, Passaic County Freeholder
- Dick LaRossa, State Senator
- Dick Zimmer, U.S. Representative
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.
|Republican||Dick La Rossa||25,608||12.1%|
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.
|Democratic||Robert G. Torricelli||1,519,328||52.7%|
|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||Steven J. Baeli||7,749||0.3%|