BY TOM HESTER SR.
In the 2008 New Jersey primary election the last time Congressional nominations were on the ballot, 11 percent of registered voters turned out to cast a ballot. In 2006, the turnout was 8 percent. In 2004, it was 11 percent.
And according to a new Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll, only 14 percent of New Jerseyans even realize that the primary election is Tuesday. So if you are among the few planning to vote, don't expect to have to wait in line. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
While political strategists don't expect that any of the 8 incumbent Democratic or 5 Republican congressmen will lose their party's nomination — 6 of them are running unopposed — there are contests of a sort in 14 of the 26 congressional races.The Tea Party wing of the Republican Party is running candidates in three districts, including the 4th District where it is challenging Republican incumbent Rep. Chris Smith. Republican and Democratic political leaders will be watching the results to get a sense of what effect the fledgling Tea Party may have on New Jersey politics.
Going unspoken is that election day could be the start of the last campaign for one of the incumbents. Congressional redistricting will take place in 2011 and there is a chance — if U.S census results show a population decline — that New Jersey would lose a seat in Congress.
What may be the most interesting race has shaped up in the 7th District in parts of Hunterdon, Somerset, Union and Middlesex counties where first-term Republican Rep. Leonard Lance is up against three challengers.
While Lance expects to have the support of the Hunterdon and Somerset GOP organizations, he also sought the public endorsement of House GOP leaders and Gov. Chris Christie. He is challenged by Bruce E. Baker of Westfield, Alonzo "Lon'' Hosford of Milford and David Larsen of Tewksbury. Ed Potosnak of Scotch Plains is the unopposed Democratic nominee.
In the 11th District in parts of Morris, Passaic, Somerset and Sussex, incumbent Republican Rep. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen has been running campaign ads reminding GOP voters, in part, that he is tough on terrorism, to fend off any threat by Richard T. Luzzi of Sparta, the "Constitutional Conservative.''
Douglas Herbert of Chatham, the Democratic-endorsed candidate, is challenged by James D. Kelly of Boonton, the "End Corruption in Government'' candidate.
In the 1st District in parts of Burlington, Camden and Gloucester, Democratic Rep. Rob Andrews is challenged by John Caramanna of Blackwood. Dale Glading of Burlington, the Republican Part-endorsed nominee is opposed by Lee Lucas of Gibbstown, Loran M. Oglesby of Sewell and Fernando Powers of Blackwood.
In the 2nd District in Salem and Cape May counties and parts of Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties, Republican incumbent Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo is challenged by Linda Biamonte of Northfield and Donna Ward of Mantua. Gary Stein of Mullica is running as the lone Democratic candidate and without the support of the Democratic organization.
In the 3rd District in parts of Burlington, Camden and Ocean, freshman Democratic Rep. John Adler, who is expecting a tough re-election contest in November, is challenged by Barry D. Bender of Forked River. The Republican who is expected to give Adler a tough race, former Philadelphia Eagle Jon Runyan of Mount Laurel, is opposed by Justin M. Murphy of Tabernacle.
In the 4th District in parts of Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth, and Ocean, Republican Rep. Smith is opposed by "Tea Party Republican'' Alan Bateman of Colts Neck. Howard Kleinhendler of Lakewood is the lone Democrat and he is endorsed by the party's organization.
In the 5th District in Warren and parts of Bergen, Passaic and Sussex, incumbent Republican Rep. Scott Garrett is unopposed. Tod Theise of Washington, the party-endorsed Democratic candidate, is opposed by Alan N. Iannarelli Jr. of Ramsey.
In the 6th District in parts of Middlesex, Monmouth, Somerset and Union, Democratic incumbent Frank Pallone is unopposed. Diane Gooch of Rumson, the Republican-endorsed candidate, is opposed by Highlands Mayor Anne C. Little, the "Republican Tea Party Approved'' candidate.
In the 8th District in parts of Essex and Passaic, incumbent Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell is unopposed. Roland Straten of Montclair, the Republican-endorsed candidate is opposed by Blasé Billack of Clifton.
In the 9th District in parts of Bergen, Hudson and Passaic, incumbent Democratic Rep. Steven R. Rothman is unopposed. Michael A. Agosta of Fairlawn, the Republican-endorsed candidate is challenged by John Aslanian of Englewood Cliffs, the "Tea Party Conservative Republican for America,'' and Sergey Shevchuk of Fairlawn.
In the 10th District in parts of Essex, Hudson and Union counties, incumbent Democratic Rep. Donald M. Payne is unopposed. Michael J. Alonso of Bayonne is the lone Republican candidate and he is running without the endorsement of the party's organization.
In the 12th District in parts of Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth and Somerset, Democratic incumbent Rush Holt is unopposed. Scott Sipprelle of Princeton, the Republican-endorsed candidate, is opposed by David Corsi of Oceanport, the "Republican Tea Party Approved'' candidate.
In the 13th District in part of Hudson, Essex, Middlesex and Union counties, incumbent Democratic Rep. Albio Sires is opposed by perennial candidate Jeff "Jefe'' Boss of Guttenberg, the "I Have Proof NSA Did 911'' candidate. Henrietta Dwyer of West New York is the unopposed Republican-backed candidate.