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Jim Whelan

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Jim Whelan
Jim Whelam.jpg
New Jersey State Senate District 2
In office
Term ends
January 9, 2018
Years in position 7
Base salary$49,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
First electedNovember 6, 2007
Next generalNovember 7, 2017
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
New Jersey General Assembly
Mayor, Atlantic City
Bachelor'sTemple University
Master'sTemple University
Date of birthNovember 8, 1948
Office website
Jim Whelan (b. November 8, 1948) is a Democratic member of the New Jersey Senate, representing District 2. He was first elected to the chamber in 2007. Bills that have been sponsored by Senator Whelan include Senate Bill 96 and Senate Bill 119.[1][2] He currently serves as the chair of the Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Senate Committee.

Whelan served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 2006 to 2007. Whelan was the mayor of Atlantic City from 1990 to 2001 and was a member of the Atlantic City Council from 1982 to 1990.


Whelan earned his B.A. and his M. Ed. from Temple University in English Education. His professional experience includes working as a teacher at Martin Luther King School.

Committee assignments

2015 legislative session

At the beginning of the 2015 legislative session, Whelan served on the following committees:

New Jersey Committee Assignments, 2015
State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation, Chair
Economic Growth
Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens

2014 legislative session

In the 2014 legislative session, Whelan served on the following committees:


In the 2012-2013 legislative session, Whelan served on the following committees:


In the 2010-2011 legislative session, Whelan served on the following committees:


Campaign themes


The District 2 Democratic campaign site highlighted five key policy positions:[3]

  • Taxes: "Provide real tax relief to overburdened seniors and middle-class families by ending tax cuts for multi-millionaires and restoring seniors' property tax rebates."
  • Leadership: "Provide independent leadership by working across party lines with the Governor to fix Trenton while standing up to him on policies that hurt seniors and middle-class families."
  • Spending: "End the government spending spree with a freeze on state spending, independent audits of every department and public pension reforms."
  • Political perks: "Slash taxpayer-funded political perks including free EZ-passes, housing allowances, luxury cars and luxury boxes at sports events for politicos and bureaucrats."
  • Jobs: "Attract new business and jobs to New Jersey by providing competitive tax incentives, improving access to start-up capital, and eliminating roadblocks like bureaucratic red tape."

The Real Record of Jim Whelan, attack ad from Atlantic County GOP

Jim Whelan:A Record of Service campaign ad

2nd District debate

On September 15, the District 2 Senate candidates took part in a debate sponsored by the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy and The Press of Atlantic City.

  • The full, hour-long debate can be found here.
  • The Assembly candidates' debate can be found here.


Double dipping is a term used to describe the practice of allowing government employees to "retire," start collecting a pension and then return to work for the state while continuing to receive pension benefits. It is currently permitted in New Jersey. Banning or limiting double dipping is among the proposals in New Jersey to reduce the state pension obligation. Two companion bills, S601 and A860, were introduced in the 2012-2013 legislative session. As of March 2015 neither has reached the floor for a vote. In July 2013 New Jersey Watchdog published an article focusing on double dipping by New Jersey state legislators. The report identified 18 state lawmakers who receive retirement checks totaling $782,000 a year in addition to their legislative salaries. The roster includes leaders of each party in both the Senate and Assembly.[4]
Whelan was included on the list of legislators currently receiving pension benefits and a legislative salary. According to the 2013 report, Whelan receives a $35,160 pension per year. The employer at retirement was Ventor City.[4]



See also: New Jersey State Senate elections, 2013

Whelan won re-election in the 2013 election for New Jersey State Senate District 2. Whelan was unopposed in the June 4 Democratic primary and defeated Frank Balles (R) in the general election on November 5, 2013.[5][6][7][8]

New Jersey State Senate, District 2 General Election, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJim Whelan Incumbent 55% 29,333
     Republican Frank Balles 45% 24,006
Total Votes 53,339


See also: New Jersey State Senate elections, 2011

Whelan won re-election to the District 2 Senate seat in the 2011 election. He was unopposed for the June 7 Democratic primary. Whelan defeated Assemblyman Vincent Polistina (R) in the general election which took place on November 8, 2011. Lorenzo Langford (I) was a candidate for the seat but withdrew on September 20.[9]

New Jersey State Senate District 2 General Election, 2011
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJim Whelan Incumbent 53.4% 24,075
     Republican Vincent Polistina 46.6% 20,997
Total Votes 45,072


Asbury Park Press

District 2 was one of only three districts that the Asbury Park Press identified as competitive in 2011. The other two were Districts 14 and 38. Districts 2 and 38 may lean more Republican after 2011 redistricting, and District 14 may still favor Democrats. As evidence, they cited a drop in registered Democrats in Districts 2 and 38, and only a small decrease in registered Democrats in District 14. History has shown, argued APP, that districts where Democrats hold less than a 10,000 registered voter advantage typically favor the GOP. The Democratic registration advantage in District 2 was roughly 9,200 (down from 11,000).[10]

NJ Spotlight

With assembly incumbent Polistina (R) choosing to run for the State Senate, NJ Spotlight identified District 2 as a potential place for the GOP to lose a seat in the Assembly. Following redistricting, District 2 gained Democratic communities, losing Republican Galloway Township and picking up Democratic Somers Point, Buena and Buena Vista.[11]

Courier Post

On June 7, Lorenzo Langford made the decision to run in the 2011 Senate race as an Independent. In the past, Langford had identified with the Democratic Party, defeating then incumbent mayor Jim Whelan (D) in 2001, Langford's third attempt at unseating him. It was speculated that if Lorenzo remained in the race, Whelan would likely lose. Langford claims that he was a serious candidate stating his extreme dissatisfaction with Senator Whelan's vote on S11 (Atlantic City Tourism District).[12]

Others viewed Langford as a "spoiler" candidate. Whelan's campaign manager, Justin Myers, claimed that Polistina recruited Langford to help split the Democratic vote. Both Langford and Polistina denied working together to adversely affect the election.[12][13]

Langford ultimately decided to withdraw from the race on September 20, 2011. Langford declined to make a formal endorsement but stated his intention to vote for Vincent Polistina (R). Langford also stated his intention to "list the many instances that speak to Jim Whelan’s ineptness as mayor, as well as those occasions when he betrayed Atlantic City residents and sold us out."[14]


See also: New Jersey State Senate elections, 2007

In 2007 Whelan was elected to the New Jersey State Senate District 2. Whelan (D) finished with 27,913 votes while his opponent James McCullough (R) finished with 21,013 votes.[15] Whelan raised $112,606 for his campaign fund.[16]

New Jersey State Senate District 2
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Jim Whelan (D) 27,913
James McCullough (R) 21,013

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Whelan is available dating back to 2005. Based on available campaign finance records, Whelan raised a total of $1,763,733 during that time period. This information was last updated on August 12, 2013.[17]

Jim Whelan's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2011 New Jersey State Senate, District 2 Won $1,547,564
2009 New Jersey State Senate, District 2 Not up for election $103,563
2007 New Jersey State Senate, District 2 Won $112,606
2005 New Jersey General Assembly, District 2 Won $0
Grand Total Raised $1,763,733


Whelan New Jersey State Senate in 2011. During that election cycle, Whelan raised a total of $1,547,564.


Whelan was not up for election to the New Jersey State Senate in 2009. During that election cycle, Whelan raised a total of $103,563.


Whelan won election to the New Jersey State Senate in 2007. During that election cycle, Whelan raised a total of $112,606.


Whelan won election to the New Jersey General Assembly in 2005. During that election cycle, Whelan raised a total of $0.


See also: State legislative scorecards and State legislative scorecards in New Jersey

Legislative scorecards are used to evaluate elected public officials based on voting record. Some scorecards are created by political advocacy groups with a focus on specific issues, while others are developed by newspapers and are broad in scope. Scorecards are meant to be used as a tool for voters to have a quick picture of whether their views align with a particular legislator's record.

Because scorecards can be specific to particular issues or general to a state’s legislative term, for example, each report should be considered on its own merits. Each entity that publishes these reports uses different methodologies and definitions for the terms used.

An overview for scorecards in all 50 states can be found on this page. To contribute to the list of New Jersey scorecards, email suggestions to

Please see our writing guidelines if you would like to add results from an individual scorecard to this legislator's profile.


In 2014, the 216th New Jersey State Legislature will be in session from January 14 through January 1, 2016.


In 2012, the 215th New Jersey State Legislature, first annual session, was in session from January 10 to January 9, 2013. In 2013, the 215th New Jersey State Legislature, second annual session, was in session from January 10 to January 13, 2014.

  • Legislators are scored on environment and conservation issues.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on key fiscal legislation affecting the state's economy.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes concerning the protection of the environment.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on key conservative issues.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on key conservative issues.



In 2013, Whelan’s endorsements included the following:[18][19]

  • The New Jersey AFL-CIO
  • The Sierra Club


State leaders pick sides in District 2

Several powerful state leaders have expressed support for their chosen candidates in District 2. Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono (D) and Chairman of the state Democratic Committee John Wisniewski (D) have personally endorsed the Democratic ticket in District 2, attending a rally in support of the candidates. The Republican candidates have garnered the support of Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R), who attended an event for GOP campaign staff in District 2. The visits further highlight the importance of the district in November's election.[20]


Whelan and his wife, Kathy, have one child and live in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

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See also

External links

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  1. New Jersey State Legislature, "Bills Sponsored by Senators and Representatives," accessed April 10, 2014
  2. New Jersey State Legislature, "Biography of Jim Whalen," accessed April 10, 2014
  3. Whelan for Senate," accessed May 10, 2013
  4. 4.0 4.1 New Jersey Watchdog, "18 double-dipping NJ lawmakers block pension reform," July 22, 2013
  5. New Jersey Department of State, "Official Primary Election Results," accessed July 26, 2013
  6. New Jersey Department of State, "Official general election candidates," September 9, 2013
  7. Associated Press, "New Jersey - Summary Vote Results," November 6, 2013
  8. New Jersey Department of State, "2013 Official General Election results," accessed December 5, 2013
  9. New Jersey Department of State, "2011 Official State Senate Primary Candidate List," accessed April 10, 2014
  10. Asbury Park Press, "Race for Legislature is on," September 23, 2011
  11. NJ Spotlight, "Election 2011: Where the Republicans Can Pick Up Assembly Seats," April 12, 2011
  12. 12.0 12.1, Senate race a classic matchup, June 10, 2011
  13. Press of Atlantic City, Political analyst: Langford may lose Democratic support if he runs for Senate as independent, June 27, 2011
  14., "Atlantic City mayor decides against state Senate run," September 20, 2011
  15. Follow the Money, "New Jersey State Senate 2007 general election results," accessed April 10, 2014
  16. Campaign funds
  17., "Whelan, Jim" accessed August 12, 2013
  18., "AFL-CIO endorses candidates for elections," accessed September 3, 2013
  19. Sierra Club, New Jersey Chapter, "NJ Chapter's State Legislative Endorsements," accessed September 3, 2013
  20. Press of Atlantic City, "Top New Jersey Democrats rally for 2nd District candidates," October 10, 2011
Political offices
Preceded by
New Jersey State Senate District 2
Succeeded by