All of New Jersey’s 80 Assembly seats are up for election this year, but in Tuesday’s primary only 10 of them are contested.
The primary is just the preamble to the real fight in November. Democrats have controlled the Assembly since 2001, but Republicans hope to pick up nine seats to regain the majority.
Still, with months to go before most of the races heat up, the 170 major-party candidates vying for the spots have raised more than $12 million so far and spent more than $6 million.
Tuesday’s ballot also will have one special primary election for a state senate seat in Camden and Gloucester counties, but Democrat Nilsa Cruz-Perez is
running unopposed. Democrats already control New Jersey’s Senate and the state has a GOP governor.
Here are 10 things to know about New Jersey’s legislative races:
One hundred seventy Democrats and Republicans are competing for 80 Assembly seats, but only 24 of them face primary challenges on Tuesday for 10 of those seats.SHARE THIS:
Altogether, though, only four of the 80 seats are uncontested this fall, contrary to the national trend. More than a third of legislative candidates nationwide faced no opponents last November, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics.SHARE THIS:
Seventy incumbents are facing challenges, and if history is any indication, they’ll likely be successful. In the seven elections between 1999 and 2011, 97 percent of incumbent Assembly members won re-election, according to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.SHARE THIS:
Republicans are trying to seize nine new seats to regain a majority, but Democratic candidates have both outraised and outspent Republicans 2-to-1.SHARE THIS:
By May 22, less than two weeks before the primary, Assembly candidates had raised more than $12.4 million. Of that, incumbents can take credit for the vast majority, more than $11.7 million.SHARE THIS:
Likewise, incumbents are also responsible for the majority of the spending so far. Of the $6.9 million spent by May 22, incumbents spent more than $6.5 million.SHARE THIS:
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto has raised the most money so far of all Assembly candidates — more than $817,000 — even though the Democrat doesn’t face a primary challenge.SHARE THIS:
Among Republicans, Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick was the top fundraiser and the top spender. Like Prieto, he faces an uncontested primary.SHARE THIS:
By May 22, contested primaries had accounted for just over $882,000 in money raised and about $632,000 spent — less than 10 percent of the total money raised and spent in these races.SHARE THIS:
In the sole special election for a state senate seat, Democrat Nilsa Cruz-Perez faces no opposition in Tuesday’s primary or in November yet still has raised over $66,000, nearly a quarter of which came from two local branches of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. SHARE THIS:
Sources: New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission reports through May 22, the latest available filings; New Jersey Division of Elections, National Institute on Money in State Politics.
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