New Jerseyans went to the polls on June 5th to select their party’s nominees for the November elections. The most closely watched races were the primaries for the upcoming Congressional races. Nationally, Democrats see a path to gain control of the House of Representatives and possibly the U.S. Senate, but it requires that the party hold their current seats while picking up enough open seats and defeating incumbent Republicans to gain the majority.
As expected, incumbent Democratic Senator Bob Menendez will face Republican Bob Hugin, the former CEO of Celgene. In addition to holding Senator Menendez’s seat, Democrats must win at least two Senate seats held by Republicans in order to flip control of the Senate.
House of Representatives
Democrats must flip 25 seats nationally to gain control of the House. Democrats believe three of those seats could be in New Jersey, which has a delegation of seven Democrats and five Republicans.
In the 2nd Congressional District, State Senator Jeff Van Drew won a contested primary to earn the Democratic nomination. He will face Republican Seth Grossman, an attorney and former local and county office holder. While Senator Van Drew was expected to win the primary, Mr. Grossman faced an uphill battle defeating frontrunner Hirsh Singh, former Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi, and former FBI agent Robert Turkavage in the GOP primary. Democrats are heavily targeting this seat, currently held by retiring Republican Congressman Frank LoBiondo, in their quest to gain control of the House of Representatives.
Residents of the 7th Congressional District will choose between Republican incumbent Leonard Lance and Democratic challenger Tom Malinowski. Congressman Lance has represented the 7th Congressional District since 2009, and previously served in the New Jersey State Senate and General Assembly. Mr. Malinowski served as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor during President Obama’s second term. This race has recently been moved from “lean Republican” to “toss-up” by Cook Political Report.
With the retirement of Republican Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, the 11th Congressional District will have a new member of Congress for the first time in over 20 years. Republican Assemblyman Jay Webber won a closely contested primary against two other candidates. Assemblyman Webber, an attorney, has represented the 26th Legislative District (parts of Morris, Essex, and Passaic Counties) since 2008. Democrat Mikie Sherrill, a former federal prosecutor and Navy helicopter pilot, defeated her four opponents to win the Democratic nomination.
The General Election for these races, as well as the other Congressional districts, county, and local contents, will be held on Tuesday, November 6th.