Democrats have been upgraded in two New Jersey congressional districts by University of Virginia Center for Politics’ Sabato Crystall Ball, one of the top national non-partisan congressional rankings.
Republican Frank LoBiondo’s 2nd district congressional seat has shifted from Leans Democrat to Likely Democrat, and Rep. Tom MacArthur in the 3rd district was moved from Likely Republican to Leans Republican.
Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis), a right-of-center State Senator who has spent 17 years in the New Jersey Legislature, is viewed as the heavy favorite to flip the 2nd district to the Democrats. He faces Republican Seth Grossman, a former Atlantic County freeholder who has received considerable attention recently for comments he made about diversity. The seat has been in Republican hands since LoBiondo won it in 1994.
MacArthur (R-Toms River) faces former Obama White House aide Andy Kim in his bid for a third term.
“We’re moving this race from Likely Republican to Leans Republican, but two caveats: the first is that NJ-3 is a very expensive and inefficient district to target in advertising, because it’s split roughly evenly between the New York City and Philadelphia media markets, and the second is that Democrats bemoaned how the district was modified in post-2010 redistricting. Cherry Hill, a Democratic Philadelphia suburb, was carved out of the district, and although the district still voted for Barack Obama in 2012, it flipped to Trump in 2016. NJ-3 still ranks clearly behind three other New Jersey districts as Democratic pickup opportunities.,” said House race editor Kyle Klondik.
The Sabato Crystal ball has Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton) and the open seat of retiring Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Harding) in the Toss-Up column. Lance’s seat has been Republican since 1956 and Frelinghuysen’s since 1984. Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton) is still listed as Safe Republican.
Democrat Mikie Sherrill, a retired U.S. Navy helicopter pilot and former federal prosecutor, faces five-term Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains). A poll released on Wednesday by Monmouth University show the race to be a statistical dead heat. Lance faces Tom Malinowski, who served as Assistant U.S. Secretary of State under President Barack Obama.
On the Democratic side, freshman Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) is listed as Likely Democratic. The other six Democratic incumbents are considered safe.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated at 8:00 AM to include comment from Kondyk.