Low turnout, little competition expected in N.J. primary

    Political analysts do not expect any real competitive legislative races in Tuesday’s primary election in New Jersey.

    All 120 seats in the state Senate and Assembly are up for grabs this year.

    Rider University political science professor Ben Dworkin, who said incumbents won’t be facing a big challenge in the primary, said that’s because legislative redistricting was not settled until a week before candidates had to file the necessary paperwork to be in the election.

    “Those who had party organization backing had a much better chance of getting their petitions together than anybody else who might think about challenging,” said Dworkin. “We’ve seen very few primary challengers because they didn’t know what the district was going to look like and it was hard for them to raise money.”

    Montclair State University political science professor Brigid Harrison said the way state legislative districts were redrawn is another reason for no big primary battles.

    “This year, one of the things that the decision makers in that redistricting process valued was stability, and with stability what we see is that incumbents tend to be protected,” said Harrison.

    Harrison expects the real fight for control of the Legislature will come in November. Even then, however, she anticipates only a handful of competitive races.

    Both Harrison and Dworkin said the lack of competitive races will mean a low voter turnout.

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