You wouldn’t be wrong if you thought that New Jersey voters like Democrats. In the past six presidential elections, the New Jersey has gone to the Democratic candidates. The Garden State’s two U.S. Senators are also both Democrats.
In Trenton both houses of the legislature have Democratic majorities. But the governor’s office is held by a Republican Chris Christie. So how did this happen? Well part of the problem here is the perception that New Jersey is a Democratic state.
Democrats outnumber Republicans but it is the large number of unaffiliated voters that make the political landscape a little less predictable.
Unaffiliated – 2.5 million
Democrats – 1.8 million
Republicans – 1 million
So, the unaffiliated voters may be the ones who will decide this year’s race for governor and many of the legislative races.
Chris Christie is facing seven challengers in today’s General Election, which includes. Democratic state Senator Barbara Buono.
One challenge facing Buono is she was unable to get the powerful Democratic political bosses to rally behind her campaign. Christie has received endorsements from more than 50 elected Democrats.
To see the full list of gubernatorial candidates look at this sample ballot
For in-depth coverage of key races to watch see NJ Spotlight’s Election webpage
Statewide ballot questions
Voters are being asked whether to raise the hourly minimum wage paid to workers in New Jersey from $7.25 to $8.25. The amendment also requires annual increases in that rate if there are annual increases in the cost of living.
To understand how much this pay raise would impact a worker over an entire year if you worked 40 hours a week your earnings would jump from $15,080 to $17,160.
Supporters say the Federal Minimum Wage hasn’t kept up with inflation. The last time the minimum wage rose was in July 2009. Critics say raising labor costs will raise prices for consumers, which could slow the pace of the economic recovery.
Vets and Bingo
The other statewide question is whether military veterans groups should be allowed raise money from bingo and raffle events for their operations. Currently veterans groups can only use money raised by the games for supporting educational or charitable activities.
Democrats control both the state Senate and the Assembly.
Republicans are hoping that Chris Christie’s popularity may help shrink the Democrats hold in the Senate and Assembly chambers.
One one of those seats Republicans want to takeaway is in District 14 that represents Hamilton, East Windsor, Plainsboro and other nearby towns. Incumbent Democratic state Senator Linda Greenstein is being challenged by Peter A. Inverso, who is one of the district’s former senators.
Finally most New Jersey communities will be electing school board members Tuesday as the state’s districts rapidlymove from April elections to November polling.
If you need help finding out where your polling location is check out this page from the New Jersey Elections office.