Norcross wins seat in S.J.

Sen. Donald Norcross votes at the Rutgers-Camden student center Tuesday, November 4, 2014. ( DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer )

State Sen. Donald Norcross decisively defeated Republican challenger and former Eagles linebacker Garry Cobb in New Jersey's heavily Democratic First Congressional District race, according to unofficial election results.

South Jersey Democrats raised $1.8 million for the race - more than 10 times Cobb's camp - to ensure the win.

A Republican has not held the seat since 1965.

Five independent challengers defeated were Mike Berman, Margaret Chapman, Donald Letton, Robert Shapiro and Scot Tomaszewski.

Norcross replaces U.S. Rep. Robert E. Andrews, who stepped down this year and threw his support behind Norcross.

Norcross said he hopes to step in to finish Andrews' term as soon as Nov. 12.

"This speaks volumes to what people are hoping for - making sure they can get back to work and send their kids to college," Norcross said Tuesday night from a packed Camden County Democratic Headquarters.

"This isn't about beating up your opponent," he said. "I ran a 100 percent positive race about our vision for what would be best for the district and American workers, and obviously it worked."

During the campaign Norcross touted his record in the state Senate working on a bipartisan bail reform bill and on legislation that has brought, through tax incentives, businesses to South Jersey.

Cobb struck mostly on the offensive, calling Norcross part of the political status quo and criticizing high unemployment rates, specifically in Camden City.

"It's disappointing, but it's not an end," said Cobb, who added that he's unsure whether he'll run for office again.

He called the Democratic fund-raising "almost insurmountable."

"Without a doubt I didn't know all I was going up against and the entire situation, for them, it was such a tremendous financial advantage," he said.