It’s Crowded At Top Of Ballot In New Jersey Primary

TRENTON, NJ (CBS) — Tuesday is primary election day in New Jersey and there are many important races for partisans to decide on. Tradition suggests turnout will be low, giving those with party backing and/or strong organizations the upper hand, particularly in the race to replace unpopular two-term Republican Governor Chris Christie.

There are a total of 11 people vying for two spots on the November ballot.

On the Democratic side, there are six candidates. Wall Street financier Phil Murphy has spent millions of dollars of his own money to increase his name recognition, and it has worked. The former US Ambassador to Germany in the Obama Administration leads most pre-election polls by a healthy margin.

He is opposed by two sitting state legislators, State Assemblyman John Wisniewski and State Senator Raymond Lesniak.

Also on the Democratic ballot, former Assistant US Treasury Secretary and onetime federal prosecutor Jim Johnson, Tenafly councilman Mark Zinna and retired North Jersey fire fighter turned political activist Bill Brennan.

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Republicans will choose from five hopefuls. Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, who has done a great deal to distance herself from Christie in recent months, has led most state polls with Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli gaining ground by casting himself as a real alternative to Christie.

The other Republicans on the ballot are businessman Joseph Rullo, Nutley Commissioner Steve Rogers and businessman Hirsh Singh.

All 120 seats in the state legislature are on the line this year. Most incumbents seeking re-election are unopposed for their party’s nominations.

There are eight contested senate primaries statewide. The only one in South Jersey is in part of Burlington County where incumbent Republican Samuel Thompson faces off against Art Haney.

In the General Assembly, there are 17 contested primaries across the state. Locally, there are 3 Democratic races of interest. In the 3rd district, incumbent Democrats John Burzichelli and Adam Taliaferro face off against John Kalnas for two slots on the November ballot. In the 6th district, Democrat incumbents Lou Greenwald and Pamela Lampitt are challenged by Fredrick Dande. And in the 7th district, incumbent Herb Conaway faces Carol Murphy and Jennifer Hiniu Chuang for the two Democratic nominations.

In the 12th district, it’s a crowded field for Republicans with incumbents Ron Dancer and Robert Clifton facing opponents Alex Robotin, Eleanor Walker and John Sheard.

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There is also a contested Assembly primary for Democrats in the 2nd district and Republicans in the 1st district down the shore.

County ballots also show a number of local races up for grabs. The two most prominent are in Camden and Atlantic City.

Two term Camden Mayor Dana Redd is not seeking re-election, and is supporting City Council President Frank Moran to succeed her. He faces opposition in the

Democratic primary from former school board member Theo Spencer and Raymond Lamboy, who heads up the Latin American Economic Development Association. There is no one running on the Republican ballot.

Down the shore, Republican Don Guardian is unopposed for a second term from within his own party. Four Democrats are running to take on Guardian in the fall. They are City Council President Marty Small, Councilman Frank Gilliam, substitute teacher Fareed Abdullah and Naval veteran Jimmy Whitehead.

Independents in New Jersey can participate in the primary if they declare a party preference at their polling place.

The polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

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