Good morning, New Jersey.
It’s 6 AM and the polls have opened for the primary elections, although tens of thousands of New Jerseyans have already voted by mail.
There are primaries today for 80 State Assembly seats, one State Senate special election, and races for county and municipal office.
Here’s a list of the races the New Jersey Globe will be watching today:
New Jersey has four State Assembly primaries in districts that are potentially competitive in the general election.
The race to watch is in the 8th district, where Assemblyman Joe Howarth (R-Evesham) is fighting to remain in the legislature after Republican county organizations dumped him for considering a switch to the Democratic Party.
Howarth faces Assemblyman Ryan Peters (R-Hainesport) and former Burlington County Sheriff Jean Stanfield, who are running on with party support in Burlington, Atlantic and Camden Counties.
Stanfield, the winner of six countywide elections, was a candidate recruitment coup for Republicans. She is widely viewed as the likely first place candidate; if Howarth scores an upset, it would likely be at the expense of Peters.
A fourth candidate in the race, Jason Huf, is not expected to be a factor.
Democrats have a less competitive primary, with organization candidates Gina LaPlaca and Mark Natale facing Johnny Bravo.
Three other Assembly primaries are worth watching:
* 16th District: Three Republicans are facing off for the chance to take on Democrats Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick) and Roy Freiman (D-Hillsborough). Former Somerset County Freeholder Mark Caliguire, who lost his 2017 Assembly bid, has the organization lines in all four counties. Former Montgomery Mayor Christine Zurich Madrid has the line in Somerset, Mercer and Middlesex, while Roger Forest Locandro is running on the line in Hunterdon.
* 21st District: Three Democrats want to have a shot at Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) and Assembly Minority Whip Nancy Munoz (R-Summit). Union County Democrats are backing attorney/teacher Lisa Mandelblatt and New Providence Democratic Municipal Chairwoman Stacey Gunderman against attorney Jill LaZare, who has run against Bramnick and Munoz before. LaZare has the line in Morris – Mandelblatt turned it down to stick with her running mate – and Somerset has an open primary.
* 25th District: The retirement of twelve-term Republican Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris Township) has set up a three-way primary to run with Assembly Minority Conference Leader Anthony Bucco (R-Boonton): Denville Councilman Brian Bergen; Aura Dunn, who served as Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s district director until he left Congress earlier this year; and special assistant Morris County Counsel John Barbarula.
Morris: Three candidates are running for Surrogate, an open seat for the first time in 20 years: Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll, Freeholder Heather Darling, and Parsippany Republican Club secretary Isabella Alfano.
Freeholders Douglas Cabana, Tom Mastrangelo and Kathy DeFilippo face a challenge in the Republican primary from former Assembly staffer Donald Dinsmore, former Jefferson Republican Club President Will Felegi, and former Pequannock Mayor Cathy Winterfield.
Somerset: The retirement of a six-term incumbent has created a contested primary for Sheriff between North Plainfield Police Chief Bill Parenti and retired Sheriff’s Department K-9 officer Tim Pino.
Sussex: Three-term Sheriff Michael Strada is being challenged in the GOP primary by one of his officers, Lt. Andy Boden.
Union: About 300 county committee seats are being contested in Union County, where State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden) is seeking re-election to a second term as Democratic county chairman in June. Linden, Union, Plainfield, Roselle, Rahway, Clark, Cranford and Fanwood face county committee fights, with some scattered contests in four other municipalities.
Scutari also faces a challenge for re-election as Linden Democratic Municipal Chairman.
State Sen. Joe Cryan (D-Union), who is also the Union Township Democratic Municipal Chairman, is defending more than half of the 100 county committee seats he currently controls.
Camden: South Jersey Progressive Democrats are running candidates for county committee in several municipalities. While not enough seats are being challenged to deny State Sen. Jim Beach another term as county chairman, this is the first organized effort to make a dent in the political machine run for the last three decades by power broker George Norcross.
Worth watching are municipal primary elections in Atlantic City, Bridgewater, Camden, East Newark, Edison, Elmwood Park, Hamilton, Leonia, Linden, Old Bridge, Parsippany, Piscataway, Point Pleasant Beach, Toms River, and Wayne.