Eyes on House races as New Jersey voters head to polls

By: - June 7, 2022 7:12 am

Political observers are focused on a handful of congressional primaries with an eye on November, when the GOP hopes to win back control of Congress. (Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

New Jersey voters are headed to the polls Tuesday to select who the candidates will be in November’s general election, with political observers focused on a handful of congressional races that could prove pivotal for Republicans hoping to regain control of Congress in 2023.

One of the most closely watched contests is in the 7th Congressional District, represented now by Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski. The district became more Republican after its boundaries were redrawn last year, making Malinowski the New Jersey Democrat most in danger of losing reelection in the fall. Democrats control 10 of the state’s 12 congressional seats.

Malinowski won one of the nation’s closest races in 2020 against Republican former state Sen. Tom Kean Jr., who is hoping for a rematch in November. Kean is on Tuesday’s ballot seeking the GOP nomination with six other men.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer is seeking a fourth term in November unchallenged by any Democrats. (Courtesy of Rep. Gottheimer’s office)

The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, rates the 5th District as one likely to remain in the Democratic column. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat seeking a fourth term in November, is unchallenged in his party’s primary, and three Republicans are battling to face him in the fall: former U.S. Marine Nick De Gregorio, 2020 GOP nominee Frank Pallotta, and Sab Skenderi.

Cook predicts the 3rd District will also be a likely Democratic win in November. Incumbent Rep. Andy Kim has one challenger, Reuven Hendler, on the Democratic side. Nicholas Ferrara, Bob Healey, and Ian Smith are Republicans vying for the GOP nomination. Smith, a gym owner, made headlines in 2020 when he defied New Jersey lockdown orders and again earlier this year when he was arrested and charged with drunken driving.

Rep. Chris Smith, who represents the 4th District, is seeking his 22nd term in Congress, but first he must secure his party’s nomination against three challengers, Mike Blasi, Mike Crispi, and Steve Gray. Smith earned Donald Trump’s ire when he voted in favor of President Biden’s infrastructure bill last year, but despite Trump’s plea for someone to challenge Smith, the congressman has far outraised his GOP rivals. Matthew Jenkins is the Democrat running unchallenged for his party’s nomination.

Rep. Chris Smith voted in favor of President Biden’s infrastructure bill last year, so Donald Trump has withheld his endorsement. Smith faces three GOP challengers. (Photo by Kris Connor/ Getty Images)

The 8th District, which includes much of Hudson County, is not expected to be competitive for Republicans in the fall, so the winner of Tuesday’s primary is widely expected to win in November. The district’s longtime representative, Rep. Albio Sires, is not seeking reelection, and the state’s Democratic establishment has thrown their support behind Rob Menendez Jr., the son of Sen. Bob Menendez. David Ocampo Grajales and Ane Roseborough-Eberhard are opposing him for the Democratic nomination. Marcos Arroyo is running unchallenged for the GOP nod.

Polls close at 8 p.m.


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