Campaigns for governor, U.S. Senate overshadow N.J. legislative races

The race for a U.S. Senate seat and the election for New Jersey Governor are getting a lot of attention, but every seat in the state Legislature is also up for election this year.

Only about six New Jersey legislative races are competitive, said Monmouth University Polling Institute director Patrick Murray. And he doesn’t expect Republicans to gain enough seats to take control of the Senate or Assembly.

“Most of the Democrats are running campaigns that are trying to align themselves with [Gov.] Chris Christie, saying they’ve worked with him, but they’re running specific campaigns to tarnish the Republican opponent, saying that particular person is not acceptable,” Murray said.

Montclair State political science professor Brigid Harrison also doubts Republicans will be able to take control of the Senate. Christie would have to take a more active role campaigning for fellow Republicans to have a shot, she said.

“In order for Republicans to capture the state Senate, they really need to rely on Gov. Christie to get those non-incumbent state senate candidates elected. They’re not going to go out and do that on their own,” Harrison said. “So far, we haven’t seen the governor spending lots of time in those vulnerable districts.”

Most of the legislative candidates are relying on localized campaigns to meet voters, she said, but she expects more political ads on TV as Nov. 5, Election Day, gets closer.

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