If a healthy democracy relies on competitive primaries, we have a long way to go in New Jersey. In today’s Senate primaries there are 44 Democrats and 45 Republicans for 40 seats. If each party had two candidates for each seat there would 80 Democrats and 80 Republicans. In the Assembly there are 92 Democrats and 89 Republicans for 80 seats. If each party had two candidates for each seat there would be 160 Democrats and 160 Republicans. Bah! Humbug!
Here are the few Senate Legislative Districts in which a primary incumbent has competition. (The incumbent’s name is followed by an asterisk.)
13th J. Kyrillos* (R), L. A. Bellew (R)
20th R. Lesniak* (D), D. Obe (D)
22nd N. Scutari* (D), N. Ward (D)
30th R. Singer* (R), H. Herskowitz (R)
32nd N. Sacco* (D), F. Torres (D)
34th N. Gill* ( D), M. Alexander (D), V. Pullins (D)
In the 20th there is no Republican candidate and in the 25th there is no Democrat candidate.
Here are the few Assembly districts in which an incumbent has competition. (Incumbents names followed by an asterisk.)
8th C. Brown* (R), M. Rodrigez-Gregg (R), W. C, Fay (R), G.Jacques (R)
13th A. Handlin* (R), D. O’Scanlan* (R), E. Walsh (R), S. Boracchia (R)
32nd V. Prieto* (D), A. Jimenez* (D), M. Dominguez (D), I. Serna (D)
33rd S.Oliver* (D), T. Giblin* (D), D. Baskerville (D), B. Williams, (D) R. Morton (D), A. Moye (D), C. Childress (D)
36th G. Schaer* (D), M. Caride* (D), S. Krause (D), A. Cohn (D)
38th C. Wagner* (D), T.Eustace* (D), Z. Schrieber (D)
There are different reasons for such little competition. Among them are the redistricting process, the power of incumbency, the costs of a campaign, and the power of “bosses.”
Such should not stop us from voting today. However, it should propel us to seek more candidates to re-invigorate the primary process.