- Associated Press - Sunday, June 3, 2018

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - With the opportunity for at least two pickups, Democrats’ road to controlling any part of Congress could cut through New Jersey this fall - but first primary voters will have their say.

Polls open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 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.

A closer look at some of the races:


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 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.


Southern New Jersey’s 2nd District spans all or parts of eight counties and includes the shore resort of 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.


Northern New Jersey’s 11th District covers parts of Essex, Morris, Passaic and Sussex counties and had been under Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s control for 12 terms, until he decided this year to retire. The decision to retire has set up five-way Democratic and Republican primaries. Democrat Mikie Sherrill, a former federal prosecutor and Navy pilot, is outpacing the four Democrats and five Republicans in fundraising. She is also included in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s red to blue program. The other Democrats running are Mitchell Cobert, of Morristown, Tamara Harris, of West Orange, Alison Heslin, of Morristown and Mark Washburne, of Mendham. On the Republican side Assemblyman Jay Webber raised nearly $235,000. The other Republicans are Patrick Allocco, of Convent Station, Peter De Neufville, of Chatham, Tony Ghee, of Totowa and Martin Hewitt, of Morristown.


In addition to Menendez’s primary fight, four House incumbents face challengers, though the representatives have a fundraising advantage in each race. They are Democrat Frank Pallone in the 6th District, Republican Leonard Lance in the 7th District, Democrat Bill Pascrell Jr. in the 9th District and Democrat Donald Payne Jr. in the 10th District.

Those without a challenge are Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur in the 3rd District, Democratic Rep. Albio Sires in the 8th District and Democratic Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman in the 12th District.

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