Jersey’s Primary to Set Up Congressional Battles in November

What to Know

  • Tuesday, New Jersey heads to the polls for primary elections. Polls will open at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.
  • The races are being watched closely; New Jersey is one of the states that could flip control of Congress from Republican to Democrat.
  • NBC10 will have live updating election results after polls close.

With the opportunity for picking up at least two new Congressional seats, Democrats' road to controlling any part of Congress could cut through New Jersey this fall.

But first, primary voters will have their say.

Polls opened Tuesday at 6 a.m. and remain open until 8 p.m. for the state's Democratic and Republican voters, with contests for the U.S. Senate seat and in all but three of New Jersey's 12 House seats.

Incumbents face challenges in the Senate contest, where Democrat Bob Menendez will face a well-funded former pharmaceutical executive, if both survive the primary.

On the House side, Democratic incumbents have challengers in three races, while Republican Leonard Lance is the only member of the GOP with a challenger. Two Republican incumbents are retiring from Congress.

Here's a closer look at some of the competitive races in our area:


Menendez is seeking his third term and has establishment party support, including from Sen. Cory Booker and Gov. Phil Murphy, but he faces other questions. He was admonished by his Senate colleagues over accepting lavish gifts from his friend Salomon Melgen and is under attack by Republican Bob Hugin, the former executive of Celgene, over corruption charges that prosecutors dropped after a hung jury.

Lisa McCormick, a publisher from Rahway, is mounting what her campaign says is a grassroots-driven campaign against Menendez in the primary. Federal Election Commission records show Menendez with a fundraising advantage: He has nearly $6 million cash on hand while McCormick has not filed any fundraising reports.

On the Republican side, Hugin has promised to finance his own campaign to the tune of tens of millions of dollars and has widespread party support. He faces Brian Goldberg, a construction company executive.


In the 1st District Democratic primary, which includes Camden County, incumbent Donald Norcross is campaigning on on raising wages, increasing educational and job opportunities, and helping seniors. He faces two lesser-known challengers: Collingswood IT director Rob Carlson is pushing a FDR-inspired "newer deal" platform that includes equal rights, environmental protection, universal health care and legalizing cannabis; while Scot Tomaszewski, who identifies himself as owner of a non-union electrical contracting company in heavily unionized New Jersey, is promoting his experience creating jobs.

On the Republican side of the heavily Democratic district, Paul Dilks, former radio personality on The Big Talker 1210, is running unopposed for the nomination.


Southern New Jersey's 2nd District spans all or parts of eight counties and includes Atlantic City. Republican Rep. Frank LoBiondo's decision to retire led to Democratic state Sen. Jeff Van Drew jumping into the race. Van Drew has raised more than any of his Democratic or Republican challengers and was included in the Democratic House campaign arm's "red to blue" program, which helps "top-tier" candidates raise money. He faces former Sen. Cory Booker staffer William Cunningham, of Vineland; a self-styled "Stop-President Donald Trump" farmer named Nate Kleinman, of Elmer; and retired public school teacher Tanzie Youngblood, of Swedesboro.

On the Republican side, former failed gubernatorial candidate Hirsh Singh, one-time Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi, former FBI agent Robert Turkavage and attorney Seth Grossman are vying for the nomination.


The 4th District, which includes parts of Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean counties, is represented by Republican Chris Smith, who is running unopposed. Two would-be challengers are running in the Democratic primary: Local activist and tavern owner Jim Keady, who has a "people's platform" that includes college and Medicare for all, and Josh Welle, a defense software contractor focused on lowering taxes, providing a pathway to citizenship for immigrants and rebuilding infrastructure.

Stay with NBC10 for live updating election results after the polls close.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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