For county and municipal chairs who feel the candidate they picked last spring is not working out, the window to make a change is closing quickly.
The deadline for candidates nominated in the June primary election to drop out of the race and have their names removed from the general election ballot is on Tuesday, September 7 at 4 PM.
Political parties have 48 hours to replace those candidates if they want the new names printed on the November 2 general election ballot. That deadline is potentially dicey if a political party’ by-laws require more notice to hold a special meeting.
In recent years, the courts have – citing the right of voters to have a choice — declared deadlines like this fungible. But early voting has left late dropouts extinct since vote-by-mail ballots are due to be printed on September 13 and mailed on September 18.
At least one State Assembly vacancy exists: Chris Wilson has withdrawn as the Democratic candidate in the 1st district – a seat his party held less than two years ago – and will be replaced by Dr. Julia Hankerson, a former state Department of Human Services official.
In the 19th district, Pedro Pisar was certified last week as the Republican candidate for State Senate in the 19th district against Senate Health Committee Chairman Joseph Vitale (D-Woodbridge). The GOP primary winner, Christian Onuoha, withdrew from the race over the summer.
Vitale is seeking his eighth term in the State Senate. He was elected in 1997 when James E. McGreevey (D-Woodbridge) gave up his seat to run for governor. He was unopposed in 2017 and won re-eelction in 2013 with 63% of the vote.
The highest-profile late candidate swap in New Jersey history came in 2002.
Robert Torricelli, dropped his bid for re-election to the U.S. Senate on September 30, 2002. The New Jersey Supreme Court ordered election officials to swap his name on the ballot with Frank Lautenberg, even though the deadline had passed, and some ballots had already been printed.