Jersey brand

Large number of Republican candidates leave NJ with a wide field in Congress

A slew of Republican nominations have left New Jersey — and the 7th Congressional District in particular — with a wider congressional field than it has seen in decades.

Sixty-three candidates filed for one of 12 New Jersey House seats by Monday’s 4 p.m. deadline. With 41 candidates, Republicans represent nearly two-thirds of the candidates.

The surge in nominations comes amid some Democratic struggles seven months before the midterm elections, when the party opposing the president has a historic advantage. President Joe Biden’s approval ratings are underwater by almost 12 percentage points on average.

While Republicans are unlikely to win a majority of New Jersey’s congressional seats, Democrats’ poor performance in generic House polls and recent elections in the state suggest they are poised to win. expand their representation.

7th district

Rep. Tom Malinowski, a Democrat seeking his third term, faces only one primary challenger, Phillipsburg resident Roger Bacon, a perennial candidate who launched a gubernatorial race last year but was kicked out. of the ballot after successfully challenging his nomination petitions.

Seven Republicans are vying for the chance to face Malinowski, who drew attention to stock trades the former deputy US secretary of state failed to properly disclose.

Malinowski barely picked up a victory in 2020, but the addition of heavily Republican Warren County and parts of equally red Sussex County has made the 7th District a tougher place for Democrats to campaign.

Former state senator Tom Kean, who nearly ousted Malinowski in 2020 and gave up his legislative seat for a rematch this year, has party support in the district.

Kean will face former gubernatorial candidate Philip Rizzo, Assemblyman Erik Peterson (R-Hunterdon), Fredon Mayor John Flora and political newcomers Sterling Schwab, John Henry Isemann and Kevin Dorlon in the primary. of the GOP.

4th District

The situation is similar in the 4th District, where Rep. Chris Smith, a Republican and dean of the New Jersey congressional delegation, faces five main opponents to his right: former independent Senate candidate Tricia Flanagan, host of conservative talk show Mike Crispi, Steve Gray. , Mike Blasi and Robert Shapiro.

In New Jersey, House candidates must collect at least 200 signatures to appear on the ballot. Shapiro filed with just 203.

Only one Democrat, Matthew Jenkins, is running in the district with party support.

3rd District

Democratic Representative Andy Kim faces only one primary challenger, Reuven Hendler, a small-business owner running to Kim’s left.

Yacht company scion Bob Healey Jr. has official Republican Party support in the district, but faces two main opponents. Chief among them is Ian Smith, the gym owner who rose to prominence among some Republicans after flouting pandemic restrictions enacted by Gov. Phil Murphy.

Smith was arrested for impaired driving last week after refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test during a traffic stop. His campaign said Smith was sober but refused the test over fears of a politically motivated setup.

Republican real estate agent Nicholas Ferrara asked to run in the district under a conservative banner.

10th District

Representative Donald Payne, a Democrat seeking his fifth full term, faces two progressive challengers, former New Jersey Working Families Legislative Director Imani Oakley and Akil Khalfani, director of the Africana Institute of Labor. ‘Essex County College. Payne has party support.

Two Republicans, Garth Stewart and David Pinckney, are running in the majority Democratic district.

11th District

Democratic Rep. Mikie Sherrill faces no primary challengers in her bid for a third term, but Republican nominations have poured into the district.

Morris County Commissioner Tayfun Selen has backing from GOP organizations in Morris and Essex counties, while former Passaic County Assistant District Attorney Paul DeGroot has backing from his county’s GOP .

Three newcomers – Alexander Halter, Ruth McAndrew and Toby Anderson – are also seeking the Republican nomination.

8th District

Five Democrats have filed for Rep. Albio Sires’ seat in the House. Sires, a Democrat, is not seeking re-election.

Rob Menendez, a Democrat and son of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, enjoys organizational support in all three counties in the district and has won the endorsement of Governor Phil Murphy, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Sires and many other leading Democrats. .

Menendez faces four main opponents: Ane Roseborough-Eberhard, Brian Varela, David Ocampo Grajales and Eugene Mazo, who filed with just 221 signatures and runs under slogans that falsely claim he was endorsed by the New York Times and won Murphy’s support.

Marcos Arroyo is the only Republican to have filed documents to run in this majority Democratic district.

5th District

Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer faces no primary challengers in his bid for a fourth term.

Frank Pallotta, the district’s 2020 Republican nominee, has party support in Passaic County, while former Marine Corps officer Nick de Gregorio has official GOP support in Bergen County. The Sussex County Republican organization does not support primary candidates.

Sab Skenderi, Fred Schneiderman and Richard Franolich are also seeking the Republican green light. Franolich filed with only 218 signatures.

2nd District

Republican Representative Jeff Van Drew has party support in his bid for a third term. He faces major challenges from political newcomers John Barker and Sean Pignatelli.

Attorney Tim Alexander has the support of Democratic organizations in each of the counties in the district, but faces a challenge from Carolyn Rush, an engineer at Lockheed Martin.

6th District

Rep. Frank Pallone is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Monmouth County Republican Commissioner Sue Kiley has organizational support from both counties in the district. She will face former U.S. Senate candidate Rik Mehta, former Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Gregg Mele and businessman Tom Toomey in the GOP primary.

12th District

Democratic Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman has no primary opponent.

Republican Darius Mayfield is running with party support. He faces a single challenger, Nicholas Catucci, who filed with just 210 signatures.

1st District

Representative Donald Norcross, a Democrat, has only one primary challenger, teacher Mario DeSantis.

Republican Claire Gustafson is making her third candidacy for the 1st District seat with organizational support. West Deptford resident Damon Galdo challenges her in the GOP primary.

9th District

The 9th District will see a rematch in 2020. Democratic Representative Bill Pascrell and Republican Billy Prempeh are each unopposed in their primaries.