Home>Campaigns>Here are the 67 candidates for Congress in N.J., at least as of right now

Members of the New Jersey congressional delegation in the 116th Congress in Washington in 2019, left to right: Donald Norcross, Jeff Van Drew, Frank Pallone, Mikie Sherrill, Tom Malinowski, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Albio Sires, Bill Pascrell, Andy Kim and Donald Payne. Missing: Josh Gottheimer. Van Drew was a Democrat at the time.

Here are the 67 candidates for Congress in N.J., at least as of right now

New Jersey has one open seat, primaries in all but one district

By David Wildstein, January 20 2022 10:50 am

Update: the number of House candidates is now down to 66.  Will Monk says he will seek re-election to the Mount Holly school. 

So far, as many as 67 candidates are seeking Democratic and Republican nominations for Congress in New Jersey, including eleven incumbents.  New Jersey has one open seat, where a longtime incumbent is not seeking re-election, and all but one district has primaries.

It’s not unusual for the year to start with a large field of House candidates, but typically the number of candidates winnows a little after party nominating conventions and screening committees, Federal Election Commission filings, and getting signatures for nominating petitions by the April filing deadline.

Similarly, new candidates frequently emerge late in the game.

Here’s a look at who is running for Congress now:

1st District

Rep. Donald Norcross (D-Camden) faces a Democratic primary challenge from Mario DeSantis, a teacher and musician.  DeSantis spent one day challenging Senate President Steve Sweeney in the 3rd district Senate primary last year but dropped out when he was unable to secure the minimum 100 signatures on his nominating petitions.

Former Collingswood Claire Gustafson is seeking a rematch of her 2020 race against Norcross.  She faces primary opposition in the Republican primary from Nick Magner, a gun rights activist from Salem County.

2nd District

Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis) has two GOP primary opponents: John Barker, an Army veteran and businessman; and Scott Hitchner, Jr., an Air Force veteran and gun rights activist.

Four Democrats want to run against Van Drew: Tim Alexander, a former police detective and Philadelphia assistant district attorney; former Egg Harbor school board member Hector Tavarez; Rev. Curtis Green, and newcomer Carolyn Rush, an engineer.

3rd District

Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) faces a Democratic primary challenge from Reuven Hendler, a project manager from Beachwood who entered the race against Kim ten days after redistricting moved his hometown out of the 3rd district.

The leading Republican candidate is Bob Healey, Jr., a yacht manufacturer and  yoga instructor who raised over $500,000 in his first two months as a candidate.  Will Monk, a Mount Holly school board member, is also seeking party support to take on Kim.

4th District

Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton) is seeking re-election to a 22nd term in Congress in a solidly Republican district, but first he’ll need to get by a field of five primary opponents: conservative podcaster Mike Crispi, whose campaign is being directed by Roger Stone; Englishtown Councilman Daniel Francisco; attorney David Burg; realtor Mike Blasi; and perennial candidate Tricia Flanagan.

5th District

Three Republicans are facing off for the chance to challenge Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) in a race that remains wide open: Nick De Gregorio, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan; businessman Fred Schneiderman, who has former Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway helping with his campaign; and investment banker Frank Pallotta, who lost a race to Gottheimer in 2020.

6th District

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-Long Branch) might be facing a primary against social worker Shery Stephens Euvin, but it’s not clear.  Her name has appeared on some candidate lists, but she has not filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The Republican primary for the chance to take on the 18-term incumbent is suddenly crowded.  Monmouth County Commissioner Sue Kiley entered the race this week and two others jumped from other districts for the chance to take on Pallone in a district that includes more of Monmouth County than in the past: former U.S. Food and Drug Administration official Rik Mehta, who was the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate against Cory Booker in 2020; and former Republican National Committee staffer Thomas Toomey.  Gregg Mele, the 2021 Libertarian nominee for governor, has switched parties and is seeking to challenge Pallone as a Republican.

7th District

Rep.  Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) was the only New Jersey House Democrat to see his district become more Republican under congressional redistricting.

Former Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield), who came within 1% of ousting Malinowski in 2020, is the front-runner for a 2022 rematch.

Seven other candidates are seeking the Republican nomination to oppose him, including Assemblyman Erik Peterson (R-Franklin); Fredon Mayor John Flora; businessman John Henry Isemann; and Phil Rizzo, a former pastor and real estate developer who ran for governor in 2021.

Also seeking the GOP nomination: Sterling Irwin Schwab, a U.S. Navy veteran from Flemington who works as an account executive for a freight company; Kevin Dorlon, a licensed public works contractor from Long Valley;  and Robert Trugman, a Summit salon owner and perennial candidate.

8th District

Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York) is not seeking re-election to the House seat he’s held since 2006.  The front runner to succeed him is Robert J. Menendez, a Port Authority commissioner and the son of U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez.  Menendez has secured endorsements from Gov. Phil Murphy, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Senate President Nicholas Scutari, and Democratic organizations in Hudson and Union counties.

Two Democrats are also seeking the open seat: Ricardo Rojas, who managed an unsuccessful primary campaign against Sires in the last election, and David Ocampo, who works for a start-up that helps schools and hospitals on environmental compliance issues.

Ana Isabel Rivera, a plumber’s apprentice from Newark, is seeking the Republican nomination.  David Winkler, who has become a perennial candidate even though he has never been on a ballot, has also filed a campaign committee with the FEC.  David John Winkler, a veteran, had announced bids for Congress in 2020 and governor as the Patriot Party candidate in 2021, but never filed nominating petitions.

9th District

Two Republicans are battling for the chance to take on Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson): Billy Prempeh, a U.S. Air Force veteran who ran against Pascrell in 2020; and Patrick Quinn, a realtor and first-time candidate who had been running in the 11th when redistricting moved his hometown to the 9th.

10th District

Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-Newark) has two Democratic primary opponents: Imani Oakley, who has had multiple jobs over the last few years; and Akil Khalfani, a sociology professor at Essex County College.

No Republicans have announced their candidacies.

11th District

Seven Republicans – maybe eight – are competing for the chance to take on Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair).  GOP leaders are trying to get Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (R-Mendham), a former Sesame Street lobbyist and top aide to Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Harding), to run.  If she does, she would become the immediate front runner.

Already in the race: Morris County Commissioner Tayfun Selen; Morris County GOP State Committeeman Larry Casha; former assistant Passaic County Prosecutor Paul DeGroot; former Ridgefield Park Councilman Robert Kovic, who now lives in Sussex County; attorney Larry Friscia; Iraq War veteran Toby Anderson; and screenwriter Hillery Brotschol.

12th District

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing) and Republican Darius Mayfield, a podcaster and avid Trump supporter, have no primary opponents.

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