Voters head to the polls for the 2024 New Jersey primary. • New Jersey Monitor

Polls have opened in New Jersey, and for the first time in decades, no Democratic primary voter will see a county line vote.

While few of the primaries are competitive, Tuesday’s elections will present an examination of how New Jersey elections work without the old unique voting design, which grouped candidates based on whether they received the support of party leaders. Courts have found that the ballot design, which critics say allows party leaders to choose primary winners, is likely unconstitutional and banned their use in this June’s Democratic primary.

Democratic primaries will instead use so-called office block voting, which groups candidates based on the office they seek.

With the county line cut and first lady Tammy Murphy having dropped out of the race to succeed Sen. Bob Menendez, Rep. Andy Kim (D-03) appears to be a clear favorite in that contest’s Democratic primary.

Kim’s opponents are labor activist Patricia Campos-Medina and activist Larry Hamm. Menendez, who is accused of corruption in federal court, is not seeking re-election as a Democrat (he filed paperwork Monday to run as an independent in November).

The battle for the Republican Senate will probably get a little closer. There, hotelier Curtis Bashaw and Mendham Borough Mayor Christine Serrano Glassner are competing for the chance to run for a seat their party last won in 1972.

Bashaw has outscored his opponent by nearly three to one, winning a majority of the state’s Republican county lines, including in Republican stronghold Ocean County, the state’s largest source of Republican primaries.

But those advantages aren’t enough to turn the match in his favor. Serrano Glassner has one important one: an endorsement from former President Donald Trump.

While that November approval could be an albatross in Trump-wary New Jersey — Trump has not surpassed 42% of the vote in New Jersey during his two attempts at the White House — it will likely be a boon turn out to be for Serrano Glassner in the primary.

Menendez vs. Bhalla

In the Hudson County 8th District, Rep. Rob Menendez is facing challenges in the Democratic primary from Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla and Kyle Jasey, a real estate lender and son of former Assemblywoman Mila Jasey.

Although Democratic leaders in Hudson County quickly dropped support for New Jersey’s senior senator after he was accused of bribery and other crimes, they have supported his son as he seeks a second term in Congress. The strength of that support remains untested without a provincial border.

Bhalla has made the elder Menendez’s legal troubles a cornerstone of his campaign — there is no indication the younger Menendez has any connection to the allegations against his father — and has also raised accusations of nepotism that the congressman have haunted since he began his first congressional campaign two years ago. .

Rep. Menendez has responded by rolling out wave after wave of messages of support from prominent Democratic groups and officials, including Governor Phil Murphy and Senator Cory Booker, among many others.

Last week, Menendez launched an ad touting his record in Congress while charging that Bhalla’s attacks on his father are motivated by fear of a loss on Tuesday.

Jasey has lagged behind in fundraising and received little public support from his two opponents, though luck has given him at least one advantage: His name appears first on the ballot.

The district is predominantly Democratic. Whoever wins the Democratic nomination will almost certainly win in November.

3rd District

Two former running mates will face off in the Democratic battle for Kim’s seat in the House of Representatives in November.

In the 3rd District, Assemblyman Herb Conaway and Assemblywoman Carol Murphy, both Democrats from Burlington County, will face off, as will civil rights attorney Joe Cohn, small business owner Sarah Schoengood and teacher Brian Schkeeper.

Conaway is leading the race in fundraising — even though it’s still a low-budget race compared to the 8th District — and has the support of Burlington County Democrats.

Cohn and Murphy have each reported raising about a third as much as Conaway, while Schoengood and Schkeeper have struggled to finance their campaigns.

While the party organization itself is staying out of the fray out of respect for Burlington County’s two sitting legislators, the majority of the Burlington County Democratic Committee voted for Conaway, and individual members are not bound by the organization’s neutrality.

There is little difference in the policy priorities of the Democratic candidates — health care or drug affordability are a priority for each — and the nominee’s victory in November is far from assured.

While the 3rd District became slightly more Democratic the last time its boundaries were redrawn, the district has seen party control shift more than any other district in the state over the past decade.

On the Republican side, physician Rajesh Mohan faces immigration consultant Shirley Maia-Cusick.

Mohan has key support from some of the district’s GOP leaders, though Maia-Cusick has a cash advantage, having outraised Mohan nearly 3-to-1. Both candidates’ fundraising numbers come with a caveat: Much of their money came from their own pockets. Maia Cusick lent her campaign $273,000, or about 80% of all her fundraising through May 15. At $60,000, Mohan’s loans are smaller, but they still account for 48% of his fundraising.

Republicans Gregory Sobocinski and Michael Francis Faccone are also running.


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