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U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, left, and retired pharmaceutical executive Bob Hugin, both candidates for New Jersey's U.S. Senate seat (NEW JERSEY GLOBE PHOTO)

The polls are open in New Jersey

By David Wildstein, November 06 2018 6:00 am

Good morning, New Jersey!

It’s 6 AM and the polls are now open in New Jersey, where voters will decide a hotly contested race for the United States Senate, as well as four congressional races that could help determine which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives for the next four years.

There are also contests to control county government in Burlington and Salem counties, and competitive races for county clerk in Burlington, Morris and Passaic.  Democrats are looking to break all-Republican freeholder boards in Morris and Somerset.  Hundreds of local offices are also at stake.

In the race for U.S. Senate, two-term Democrat Bob Menendez has faced a tough contest for re-election against Republican Bob Hugin.

A former CEO at Celgene, a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company, Hugin has pumped more than $31 million of his own money into his bid to unseat Menendez.

The race has become one of the nastiest in state history, with Hugin calling Menendez corrupt after a 2017 bribery trial ended in a hung jury, and Menendez saying that Hugin is a greedy drug company millionaire who made his money by overcharging cancer patients.

A Quinnipiac University poll on Monday put Menendez ahead 55%-40%, but both campaigns say their internals show the race to be much closer.

Two Republican congressmen face tough contests for re-election in races that independent polls put within the margin of error.

In the 3rd district, Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-Toms River) faces Democrat Andy Kim, a former Obama White House staffer.  Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton) faces former assistant U.S. Secretary of State Tom Malinowski, a Democrat, in the 7th district.

The race for the open 11th district House seat of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Harding) is also up for grabs.  Pollsters say the contest between six-term Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains) and Democrat Mikie Sherrill, a former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot and assistant U.S. Attorney, is within the margin of error.  Frelinghuysen is retiring after 24 years in Congress.  Republicans have held this seat for 34 years.

In the 2nd district, most polls have state Sen. Jefferson Van Drew (D-Dennis) leading Republican Seth Grossman, a former Atlantic County freeholder, by a wide margin.  The two are competing for the seat of Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-Ventnor), who is retiring after twelve terms in Congress.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton) faces Democrat Josh Welle in his bid for a 20th term as the congressman from New Jersey’s 4th district.  Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), who unseated seven-term Republican Scott Garrett in 2016, faces former Cresskill councilman John McCann in the 5th district.

Election officials are bracing for some confusion at the polls after a new vote-by-mail law required county clerks to mail ballots to anyone who requested one in 2016.  Any voter who shows up at their polling location after having a ballot mailed to them will be able to vote on a provisional paper ballot.

The polls are open until 8 PM, unless a judge orders them to remain open later.

Election Duty Judges for Nov 6 2018 General Election - As Distributed- 11-03-18
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