Congressional races shaping up in New Jersey

Even though elections are many months away, the races for some congressional seats in New Jersey are beginning to take shape.

U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, who said he loves what he does, is seeking an 11th term as the representative of South Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District.

Rider University political science professor Ben Dworkin believes the only Democrat who could beat Republican LoBiondo is state Sen. Jeff Van Drew.

“We’ll have to see, though, whether this really develops into a marquee matchup where millions of dollars will be spent on both sides — or whether it’s going to be a case of Frank LoBiondo pretty much cruising to victory,” Dworkin said.

Van Drew said he’ll decide by the end of the month whether he’ll run for Congress.

In the 3rd District, Congressman Jon Runyan is not seeking re-election, and Republican Steven Lonegan is planning to move to Lavallette to run for that seat.

Monmouth University political analyst Patrick Murray says local Republican leaders might not unite behind Lonegan, who recently lost the U.S. Senate race to Cory Booker.

“They still believe that this is going to be a Republican-leaning district and the Republicans are going to have the better shot at winning this district even in an open seat, and they might want to give it to one of their loyal supporters,” Murray said. “Steve Lonegan jumping in here really throws a monkey wrench in that. So it’s not clear exactly what’s going to happen.”

A Republican primary battle in the 3rd District could hurt the party’s chances of retaining the Congressional seat, Dworkin said.

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