On Tuesday, New Jersey voters, registered with either party, will head to the polls to vote in the presidential primary and the state primary elections.
While the Republican presidential primary nomination will be at the top of the ticket, New Jersey voters are late to the game in deciding which nominee will be the candidate; after Mitt Romney's win in Texas last week he no longer requires anymore delegates to win the GOP nomination.
Aside from the presidential primary, voters will weigh in on a number of state positions. One race in particular has attracted the attention of President Obama and former President Clinton. Due to a redrawn congressional map, two long-serving Democratic congressman will be thrown into an ugly clash. Rep. Steven Rothman (backed by President Obama) will face off aginst Rep. Bill Pascrell (backed by President Clinton). This high-profile attention could drive New Jersey voters to the polls in the 9th district: an area now comprised of parts of Bergen, Passaic, and Hudson counties.
Another closely watched race is the six-way democratic contest to replace democrat Rep. Donald Payne Sr. of the 10th district; he was the state's only African-American congressman, and he died of cancer in March. Voters will decide who will fill the remainder of his term, as well as who will be the democratic nominee in the fall. Payne's son, Donald Payne Jr., is viewed as the frontrunner.
In the race for U.S. Senate, democratic incumbent Robert Menendez is running unopposed in his party.
Polls open at 6:00AM Tuesday and close at 8:00PM.
PolicyMic will be following the election LIVE. Click refresh for up to the minute analysis.
LIVE Updates: 10:51 p.m. U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R) defeats conservative businessman David Larsen. Larsen ran to the right of Lance, and positioned himself as a Reagan conservative. Lance represents the 7th district and is seeking his third term.
10:40 p.m. Bill Pascrell defeats Steve Rothman.
10:03 p.m. Donald Payne Jr. wins in the 10th district, and will succeed the position previously occupied by his father.
9:53 p.m. With 33% reporting in the hotly-contested new District 9, Bill Pascrell is leading 86% (16,281 votes) to Steve Rothman's 14% (2,549 votes). Both incumbents, Pascrell has been famously supported by President Clinton and Rothman by President Obama.
9:47 p.m. In the District 1 House of Representatives vote, incumbent Robert Andrews is the projected winner with 88%. In the District 2 Republican House of Representatives vote, incumbent Frank Lobiondo is the winner with 88%.
9:41 p.m. In a statement following Kyrillos's victory NJGOP Chair Sam Raia made the following statement: "... for far too long, New Jersey has been held captive by Democrats like Senator Bob Menendez, who protect their special interest benefactors before taxpayers and who believe they are literally entitled to the public office they hold. This November, New Jersey Republicans have the opportunity to break away from that pattern and elect Joe Kyrillos – a conservative leader who will hold the line on taxes, work to cut spending, and be a voice of fiscal responsibility in Washington. In 2009, New Jersey made history by electing Governor Christie, don’t be surprised if we do it again in 2012 with Joe Kyrillos."
9:23 p.m. In other projected results: in the U.S. House District 8 contest, incumbent Ablio Sires (D) is the forecasted winner ahead of Michael J. Shurin (D).
9:20 p.m. Polls across the state closed at 8:00 pm and at this point all votes are being tallied.
9:12 p.m. State Senator Joseph Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) has one the Republican nomination to take on incumbent U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D). As Kyrillos is close to Governor Chris Christie, who has a difficult relationship with Menendez, the race is expected to be contentious. Menendez has financial advantages as well as the state's democratic bent and the fact that for the past 36 years New Jersey has only elected Democrats to the U.S. Senate.
8:25 p.m. U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell had harsh words for his opponent's tactics this morning as he arrived to cast his ballot in the contentious 9th District primary battle.
"It's the most pathetic thing I've ever seen in politics," Pascrell said of the attempt by opponent Rep. Steve Rothman to have about 2,000 absentee ballots impounded. A lawyer for Rothman had complained about irregularities in the absentee voting process.
"To deny people the right to vote, to manufacture a reason why votes are not counted, it's worse than Jim Crow," Pascrell said.
The Passaic County elections superintendent ordered the ballots impounded Monday afternoon, but a judge vacated the order later that night. The judge ruled that the Rothman campaign could inspect the ballots, but they would be counted starting this morning.
Pascrell, 75, voiced his displeasure with the primary in general, which was created after the two Democratic congressmen's districts were redrawn in December. Rothman was encouraged to take on U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-5th Dist.), but he chose instead to run against Pascrell.
"This election could have been avoided, money could have been saved, but it is what it is," Pascrell said.
He said Rothman "distorted the truth and distorted my record. He's chosen that path, he'll live with that path."
Both men raised millions of dollars for the primary, which is among the highest profile races on the ballot today in New Jersey. Pascrell was endorsed by former President Bill Clinton, while Rothman traveled to the Oval Office to meet with President Obama for a photo op he said showed the president's support.
Pascrell arrived to vote just after 7:30 a.m. today at School No. 26 in Paterson, the city in which he grew up and eventually served as mayor from 1990-96.
He stepped out of his black Lincoln with wife Elsie and chatted briefly with members of the media before heading into the school's gymnasium entrance.
Inside, Pascrell hobnobbed with poll workers and hugged an old acquaintance before stepping into the voting booth to cast his ballot. He stepped out, gave a fist pump, and greeted a few more workers before heading off.
Pascrell boasted he ran a "clean campaign," and was confident that he would come out on top.
"I'm a fighter, off the streets of this city," he said. "I have more energy than I did 30 years ago."
4:00 p.m. Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, expects fairly dismal turnout today in New Jersey, where there are a few House races of interest but not much else to drive up statewide turnout: Expect a little over 400,000 voters to show up. That’s less than 10% of eligible voters. Or about 15% if you just count registered Democrats and Republicans. This turnout level has been typical for the past decade or so. [One exception: the February 2008 Presidential primary turnout of more than a third of New Jersey’s electorate.]
2:45 p.m. Democratic Sen. Bob Menéndez is unopposed in the party primary. Republican state Sen. Joe Kyrillos faces three relatively unknown challengers and is expected to oppose Menéndez in the general election
2:30 p.m. Obama vs Clinton in NJ Congressional Primary? There's a fresh reminder of the political rivalry that once captivated the party -- with the two men appearing on opposite sides in one of the nation's most contentious congressional primary battles in the newly-redrawn 9th congressional district in New Jersey. Ahead of today's primary vote in the Garden State, Clinton appeared at a campaign rally Friday for Rep. Bill Pascrell, a supporter of Clinton's wife in 2008.
That same morning, fellow Democrat Steve Rothman scored a coveted photo opportunity at the White House with President Obama, whose campaign he supported four years ago. The White House denied it was a formal endorsement, but Rothman told a local newspaper that the president "wanted everybody to know that he supported my reelection."
The same Bergen Record story said the Pascrell-Rothman fight seemed very much a Clinton-Obama battle, with some validity.
With his wife barred from political activity as secretary of State, Clinton has spent the past four years repaying the Democrats who supported her candidacy for their loyalty. The 9th district race showed how Team Obama has been doing the same; David Axelrod came to the district to campaign with Rothman last month.
Pascrell, of course, is now a loyal Obama backer, as is former President Clinton. One of Pascrell's closing television ads calls him the "fighter we need to support President Obama."
For live results of Mitt Romney and Ron Paul's race, see here.