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Republican aims to break decades long Senate election losing streak in this blue state

EXCLUSIVE – It’s been over a half century since a Republican won a Senate election in blue state New Jersey.

But real estate developer and hotelier Curtis Bashaw is optimistic about his party’s prospects in November’s elections to end the decades-long losing streak.

Bashaw, one of the two leading contenders in a multi-candidate field in June’s GOP Senate primary in New Jersey, emphasized “I believe this is a once in a generation opportunity.”

“I can’t wait to see how we prove to the rest of the country that New Jersey is a lot more purple than people realize,” he added in a national digital exclusive interview with Fox News.

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A major reason for Bashaw’s optimism is the prospect of a three-way race in New Jersey. Longtime Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, who was indicted last year on federal corruption charges, is not running for re-election as a Democrat and instead is mulling an independent bid, which polls indicate would potentially take votes away from likely Democratic Senate nominee Rep. Andy Kim.

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Bashaw, an entrepreneur and historic preservationist who is recognized in the Garden State for leading the restorations of the historic Congress Hall and the Virginia Hotel in Cape May, at the southern tip of the Jersey shore, is a first time politician.

“I’m a political outsider,” Bashaw emphasized. “I’m a business guy. I built a business over 35 years restoring landmark abandoned hotels.”

And he highlighted that he grew his business from 25 to 1,000 employees.

“I’m in it because I want to unshackle small business from over regulation,” he said.

Rep. Andy Kim in front of the U.S. Capitol

Bashaw’s chief rival for the GOP nomination is Christine Serrano Glassner, who’s served for four years as mayor of Mendham Borough, in the northern part of the state.

Bashaw holds a formidable fundraising advantage in the Republican race – thanks in part to a large self-investment in his campaign. 

He also enjoys an advantage on the primary ballot, as he has the county line in two-thirds of the state’s 21 counties. 

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New Jersey has long allowed counties to print ballots that include a prominent party line, which are widely viewed as helping candidates with establishment backing. Kim sued in federal court to overturn the county lines in the Democratic Primary. But the GOP county lines were upheld.

“New Jersey is made up of thousands and thousands and thousands of small businesspeople.  We are going to get to them really quickly and our name ID will go up really fast,” Bashaw said.

And pointing to a busy schedule on the campaign trail ahead of the primary, Bashaw showcased that “I go to six coffees a day. I go talk to every single county in our state. I put a lot of miles on the car.”

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Asked about former President Donald Trump, who is the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee, Bashaw told Fox News “I’m supporting this ticket top to bottom.”

It’s been 36 years since a Republican carried New Jersey in a White House race, but Trump is planning a campaign stop in the state next month.

“Donald Trump thinks New Jersey’s in play. I agree with him. Trump believes he can flip the country from blue to red. I believe we can flip this Senate seat from blue to red,” Bashaw said.

He argued that “there’s a massive opportunity to pull” New Jersey’s large pool of unaffiliated voters “to the Republican tent…. We are going to pull those unaffiliated voters our way this fall.”

National Republicans to date have not made any investments in the Senate race in the Garden State.

But National Republican Senatorial Committee communications director Mike Berg said “we’re keeping a close eye on New Jersey.”

A national Democratic Senate campaign aide, asked about the contest, told Fox News that “Democrats have won every New Jersey Senate race since 1978 and 2024 will be no different.”

Curtis Bashaw is optimistic Republicans will break a 52-year-long losing streak in Senate elections in New Jersey

Bashaw, in his interview, spotlighted a couple of key issues, including crime.

“New Jerseyans are not feeling safe and secure in their homes,” he argued.

On immigration and border security, another key issue Republicans are spotlighting, he charged that New Jersey “is now a border state. There are illegals coming into all of our counties.”

“The woke ideology has permeated through our culture and we now have in our state, schools keeping secrets from parents about very, very, personal decisions,” he claimed, as he defended parental rights in public education.

On the issue of abortion, which Democrats are spotlighting, Bashaw pointed to the two-year-old blockbuster decision by the Supreme Court’s conservative majority that overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, which for a half century had legalized abortion nationwide.

“I believe that the Dobbs decision was the correct decision,” Bashaw said. 

But he added that “I don’t support a federal ban,” which some in his party are backing.

The Dobbs decision moved the fight over abortion back to the states, and in New Jersey abortion is legal in all stages of pregnancy.

“New Jersey’s decided it,” Bashaw said, before charging that “the Democrats are the extremists on this issue, passing legislation allowing abortions up until the day of birth.”

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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