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President Joe Biden. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Biden files for New Jersey primary

Three U.S. Senate candidates, 19 House contenders file in advance of Monday’s deadline

By David Wildstein, March 26 2020 4:41 pm

Joe Biden filed petitions to run in the New Jersey Democratic presidential primary today and so far, is unopposed in a contest for the state’s 146 delegates.

The filing deadline is 4 PM on March 30.

President Donald Trump has no opposition in the Republican primary.

Three candidates have filed to take on Cory Booker in the race for New Jersey’s U.S. Senate seat: former Newark school board member Lawrence Hamm in the Democratic primary, and general election rivals Rik Mehta and Natalie Rivera.  Booker has not yet filed.

Five incumbent House members – Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch), Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes), Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) – have filed for re-election as of Thursday afternoon.
Hector Castillo, a perennial candidate seeking the GOP nomination for Congress in the 5th district, filed under the “Make America Great Again,” slogan.  It’s not immediately clear whether the Secretary of State will allow that ballot designation without the consent of Trump, who trademarked it.

Montvale mayor Michael Ghassali has also filed to challenge Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), but he has suspended any further expenditures on his campaign and has let his entire paid campaigns staff go.  It appears that Ghassali is out of money after deciding not to tap most of the $600,000 he has personally loaned his campaign.

Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean (R-Westfield) has filed against Malinowski in the 7th district.  He faces a primary challenge from Raafat Barsoom, a physician who won 11% of the vote against incumbent Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township) in the 2018 primary and 17% as the GOP State Senate candidate in the 29th district against Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark).

Barsoom filed with just 210 signatures – ten more than the minimum requirement – and may be ripe for a challenge.

In the 2nd district, former Trump administration official Robert Patterson has filed to run against Democrat-turned-Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis) in the primary election.

So far, only Amy Kennedy has filed to run in the Democratic primary.  Four others have announced: Brigid Harrison, John Francis III, Will Cunningham and Robert Turkavage.  Francis told the New Jersey Globe on Wednesday that his petitions are ready to go.

Petitions are in for U.S. Senate Finance Committee tax counsel Rosemary Becchi, a Republican taking on Sherrill.

David R. Schmidt has filed petitions for the GOP nomination to challenge Rep. Andy Kim (D-Marlton) in the 3rd district, but was unable to answer simple questions regarding why he’s running or who he is.  That question might be moot: Schmidt filed with 223 signatures – just 23 more than he needs — and told the Globe that he isn’t planning on filing anything else before the filing deadline.

In the 8th district, Will Sheehan and Hector Oseguera filed to challenge Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York) in the primary.

Two Democratic primary challengers have filed against Pascrell in the 9th: Zina Spezakis and Alp Basaran.  Republican Timothy Walsh has also filed.

John Flora, a Jersey City public school teacher who is challenging Rep. Donald Payne in the 10th district, has filed his petitions.  Another candidate, law professor Eugene Mazo, told the Globe that he has already secured enough signatures to qualify and will file before the deadline on Monday.

Alter Eliezer Richter has submitted petitions in the 4th district for a GOP primary challenge to Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton).

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