Candidates Gear Up for New Jersey Primary

By Michael Aron
Chief Political Correspondent

Congressman Donald Norcross is expected to win re-nomination tomorrow. But he has faced a pesky challenge from a 25-year-old Bernie Sanders supporter named Alex Law.

“We saw a tremendous amount of cronyism and graft and corruption in government here in New Jersey, and we said rather than sit at home and complain about the things that we don’t like in our government, we said let’s get out there and do something about it,” Law said.

Law is a good name to have if you’re running to be a federal lawmaker. Norcross is a good name to have if you’re running for any office in South Jersey.

Donald’s brother George is the dominant political force in South Jersey. The family has made an impact on the region.

“The fact that we’re sitting a couple hundred years from one of the great cancer centers in the world, — MD Anderson — I’m very proud of my family and what they’ve been able to do. But more important it’s moving the district forward to make sure economic development, jobs and the economy come back to people in this district,” Norcross said.

The Philadelphia Inquirer endorsed Law. The Camden Courier-Post endorsed Norcross. So has President Obama.

“I mean, he’s been one that has voted with Republicans more than any Democrat from the state of New Jersey. He’s been the one that has continued the record that this First district has set that is the only district in the United States of America that has not had a single bill written by a representative of this district become a law in my lifetime — not since Jim Florio represented this district,” Law said.

“More importantly it’s what we’re doing for the district, not whose name is on a law,” Norcross said.

“A lot of people in South Jersey, an overwhelming amount, dislike this Norcross machine,” Law said.

“The only machine that counts is the one on Election Day. It’s called the voting machine,” Norcross said.

Other races of note tomorrow — in District 3 in Burlington and Ocean counties, two Democrats are vying to challenge Republican Tom MacArthur in the fall. Fred LaVergne has the Burlington County organization’s support. Jim Keady, who was the man Gov. Chris Christie told to sit down and shut up, has the Ocean County organization’s support.

Leonard Lance’s Seventh District in North-Central Jersey also is getting attention. Lance has two Republican challengers — Craig Heard and David Larsen. Larsen is challenging Lance here for the fourth consecutive time. Lance is expected to win the primary and face a token Democrat in the fall.

Elsewhere, Frank LoBiondo, Frank Pallone, Bill Pascrell and Donald Payne Jr. face no opposition in tomorrow’s primary and token opposition in the fall.

Albio Sires, Rodney Frelinghuysen and Bonnie Watson Coleman face token opposition in both tomorrow’s primary and November.

The marquee race in November will be incumbent Scott Garrett versus challenger Josh Gottheimer in the Fifth District. Garrett faces token opposition tomorrow.

Both men have made their case on NJTV’s “On The Record” program.

“I believe people can live their lives as they want to live their lives and any one of those categories that you just said there, that’s what America’s about. The freedom to live as you choose to live, but on those issues I support traditional values,” Garrett said.

“They just don’t know that they’re represented by somebody who is a teapartyer and sort of a real extremist. I say to them ‘I want to go there and be a moderate problem solver.’ Somebody who wakes up everyday and says ‘how can we get things done?’ Who is willing to work with Democrats, Republicans, Independents to move the ball forward for us,” said Gottheimer.

Donald Norcross was at a Puerto Rico flag-raising ceremony this morning.

Alex Law was in his Haddon Township campaign headquarters.

They and candidates around the state are looking forward or maybe bracing for tomorrow.