Every seat in the New Jersey Assembly is up for election this year, but few of the candidates in Tuesday’s primary have any competition.
Only five of New Jersey’s legislative districts have primary contests.
Rider University political science professor Ben Dworkin expects that will mean a low voter turnout.
“Primaries are internal party fights,” he said. “The fact of the matter is that most of these fights happen in back rooms and get figured out well before an actual primary election.”
Potential candidates in the minority party in a district don’t enter the primary because they figure they don’t have much of a chance to win in November, according to Patrick Murray, Monmouth University Polling Institute director.
Those in the majority party are reluctant to challenge the candidates selected by party leaders.
“The party organizations — the county chairs, the local chairs — have so much power that they … basically say, ‘If you want to get ahead in this party, you don’t challenge us. If we don’t pick you, don’t run in this primary because if you do, you’ll never see any position in power in the party,'” Murray said.