1985 New Jersey gubernatorial election
County results key:
|Elections in New Jersey|
The New Jersey gubernatorial election of 1985 was a race for Governor of New Jersey held on November 5, 1985. Incumbent Republican Governor Thomas Kean sought reelection for a second term following his 1797-vote win in the 1981 election. Kean's 40-point landslide victory against the Democratic candidate, Essex County Executive Peter Shapiro, is the largest plurality in terms of percentage and raw votes in all modern New Jersey gubernatorial elections. Kean won 564 out of 567 municipalities (losing only Audubon Park, Chesilhurst, and Roosevelt) and his coattails led the Republicans to win the General Assembly with a 50-seat majority.
Primary elections were held on Tuesday June 4, 1985.
Incumbent Governor Thomas Kean was unopposed in the Republican primary election.
|Republican||Thomas Kean (inc.)||151,259||100.00|
- Robert Del Tufo, former U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey
- Kenneth A. Gibson, mayor of Newark
- Elliot Greenspan, president of the New Jersey chapter of the National Democratic Policy Committee
- John F. Russo, State Senator
- Peter Shapiro, Essex County Executive and former State Assemblyman
- Stephen B. Wiley, former State Senator
|Democratic||John F. Russo||86,827||26.60|
|Democratic||Kenneth A. Gibson||85,293||26.13|
|Democratic||Stephen B. Wiley||27,914||8.55|
|Democratic||Robert Del Tufo||19,742||6.05|
Major party candidates
- Thomas Kean, Republican, incumbent Governor
- Peter Shapiro, Democratic, Essex County executive, former member of the General Assembly
- George M. Fishman, Communist, retired social studies teacher
- Virginia Flynn, Libertarian, word processor, Universal Life Church minister
- Rodger Headrick, The True Light, real estate salesman
- Julius Levin, Socialist Labor, apartment manager
- Mark Satinoff, Socialist Workers, sheet metal worker
Kean was riding on high popularity ratings from voters on account of the good economic situation of the state in the 1980s including a surplus in the state budget. His efforts to aid depressed cities through Urban Enterprise Zones and reaching out to groups not typically associated with the Republicans including African Americans and labor unions led to endorsements from black ministers, the AFL–CIO, and The New York Times. Shapiro ran on a platform of reducing car insurance rates, the state's high property taxes, and improvement of the environment but his struggles of fundraising due to New Jersey's situation between two media markets (New York City and Philadelphia) and Kean's momentum left his campaign little-received.
|Socialist Workers||Mark Satinoff||3,703||0.19%|
|Socialist Labor||Julius Levin||2,740||0.14%|
|Communist||George M. Fishman||1,901||0.10%|
- O'Neill, Erin (November 29, 2012). "Raymond Bateman says Tom Kean won the 1985 gubernatorial election by largest margin in state's history". PolitiFact New Jersey. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
- Hanley, Robert (November 15, 1999). "Reality Catches Up to a Utopian Legacy; A New Jersey Oasis Debates High Taxes and Suburban Growth". The New York Times. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
- Reilly, Matthew (November 5, 1985). "Republican Gov. Thomas Kean, winner four years ago of..." United Press International. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
- Stone, Roger (September 30, 1989). "How the G.O.P. Can Nail Down the Black Vote". The New York Times. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
- "Candidates for the Office of Governor - State of New Jersey" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. 1989. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
- "5th Democrat in Race For Governor in Jersey". The New York Times. Associated Press. March 16, 1985. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
- Staff (November 3, 1985). "Other candidates in the race to be the Governor of Jersey". The New York Times. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
- Sullivan, Joseph F. (June 5, 1985). "Democrats in Jersey select Shapiro to face Kean in fall". The New York Times. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
- "1985 Elections: New Directions for Parties?". CQ Almanac (41st ed.). 1986. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
- NYT Editorial Board (October 29, 1985). "Governor Kean for New Jersey". The New York Times. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
- "Votes Cast for the Office of Governor of the State of New Jersey" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. 1985. Retrieved June 16, 2015.