As mentioned, New Jersey has a primary next Tuesday in which one Senator and all twelve members of the House of Representatives will be elected. Our coverage will be indexed here as it is expanded.
In New Jersey's first district, covering most of Camden County, the north half of Gloucester County, and a southern slice of Burlington County, incumbent Congressman Rob Andrews resigned from his second term in February to take a job with a Philadelphia law firm. He maintains that his resignation was unrelated to the House Ethics Committee investigation into allegations that he misused campaign funds to pay for a family trip to Scotland. As a result, the regular election in November will also be a special election, which means that whoever is elected will take office immediately rather than early next year.
Three names familiar in local politics are vying for the Democratic nomination in this heavily Democratic district, and four Republicans are looking for the chance to run against the winner.
Logan Township mayor Frank Minor was elected to that position as a Republican in 2003, but then changed to the Democratic party in 2007. He also serves as executive director of the Delaware River and Bay Authority, the people who manage the bridges. He is putting himself against the Democratic "political machine", represented by our second candidate.
That "political machine" candidate is State Senator Donald Norcross, who in 2010 after one week as a State Assemblyman was appointed to fill the vacant New Jersey State Senate seat for his (state legislative) district 5. He has risen to be an Assistant Majority Leader in that upper house. Prior to his involvement in politics he was a union electrician and assistant business manager for the electrical workers union, and has served in several important positions in the AFL-CIO. He is clearly pro-labor, and wants to do what he can to improve New Jersey's economy.
The third candidate in the Democratic race is Frank Broomell, young combat veteran marine officer who entered the race largely so that Norcross would not run unopposed. He wants to raise the minimum wage, increase vocational training opportunities, reduce college loan interest costs, control American military involvement abroad, protect veterans' services, and work with teachers to improve education.
Although poll predictors give little chance for a Republican to win this district, there are four in the race all the same.
Lee Lucas lost a 2009 Assembly bid (third legislative district), fourth in a relatively close four-way race for two positions. He did not appear at a candidate debate sponsored by the N.A.A.C.P., because he did not believe they would vote for a "fiscal conservative" anyway. The economy is his major interest, which he wants to address by raising tariffs against China and restricting both legal and illegal immigration to create more jobs for citizens.
Garry Cobb probably has the name recognition, as a former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker and local radio and television (CBS-3) sportscaster. He lists as top priorities jobs, through lower taxes and less business regulation; family, particularly in terms of tax support for those raising children; care for seniors; and healthcare, for which he suggests that every government official should agree to accept the same healthcare plan that they impose on the rest of the country. He seems to be the candidate to beat on the Republican side.
Gerard "Jerry" McManus has a degree in economics from Rowan University, and supports what is called the "Fair Tax", a twenty-three percent sales tax to replace the federal income tax, and wants to find a way to reduce college costs and debts. He advocates for energy independence, and wants to repeal Obamacare. He also wants to reduce polarization, and work across party lines to accomplish objectives.
Claire Gustafson is the only woman in this race. Her concerns are to reduce the national debt, replace Obamacare while keeping some of its good points. She would expand the military and reduce federal involvement in education. She has a strong business background, and wants the federal government to manage our tax money better and leave more of it in our pockets. Her political experience includes a term on the Collingswood Board of Education and a failed run for that town's Board of Commissioners.
That's the district one race; we have eleven more to go.