A Preview of Election Day in New Jersey

By Michael Aron
Chief Political Correspondent

At the top of the ballot, well-known Democratic Sen. Cory Booker is running for his first full term.

He is being challenged by D.C. think-tank conservative Republican Jeff Bell, who moved back to New Jersey this year after 30 years in Virginia.

“You haven’t lived in the state for the last 30 years,” Booker said.

Booker portrays himself as a workhorse committed to bipartisanship.

“He has the same ideology, the same policy as President Obama,” Bell said.

Bell’s unique theme has been returning America to the gold standard.

To which Booker said, “Everybody turned away from the gold standard back in the 1930s.”

At the House of Representatives level, there are three open seats because of resignations.

In District 3 in Central Jersey, Republican Tom MacArthur and Democrat Aimee Belgard are locked in a bitter race.

“Democrat Aimee Belgard should be ashamed,” says one MacArthur ad.

She attacks his record as an insurance company CEO.

MacArthur said, “I’ve tried to stay focused on the issues.”

He’s put $5 million of his own into the campaign, which seems wrong to her.

“We see the struggling middle class, people that are really feeling squeezed right now. They want a voice in Congress,” Belgard said.

In District 1 in South Jersey, Democratic state Sen. Donald Norcross is likely to win an open seat over Republican former Philadelphia Eagle Garry Cobb, who claims a specter of corruption hovers around Norcross and his brother George, the power broker.

“Whether it is corrupt or not, that’s irrelevant. People don’t want to deal with that,” Cobb said.

“People say many things. This is part of the dynamic. That’s exactly what we don’t need in Washington,” said Donald Norcross.

The third open seat is being contested by two women, Republican physician Alieta Eck and Democratic Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, who is headily favored.

The North Jersey race getting the most attention is in the Fifth Congressional District.

Conservative Republican Scott Garrett has won six times there.

“America’s national debt is a crisis that endangers our children’s future,” says one Garrett ad.

Newcomer Roy Cho is waging a serious challenge.

“We have a Congress that is gridlocked and dysfunctional because you have people who are consistently putting ideology and partisan politics over the everyday interests and needs of all Americans,” Cho said.

There are two public questions on the ballot. One allows judges to deny bail to a potentially violent defendant.

The other provides dedicated funding for open space from existing corporate business tax revenues.

The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.