TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Four Democrats and one long-serving Republican, all incumbents, cruised to re-election to House seats from New Jersey in early election returns Tuesday night, which also saw the son of Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez elected to Congress.
Republican Christopher Smith won a 22nd term in the 4th District, stretching from the central Jersey Shore to the capitol region of Trenton.
Democrat Robert Menendez won in the 8th District, which includes parts of Newark, Jersey City and Elizabeth. The seat was opened by the retirement of Rep. Albio Sires.
The younger Menendez is an attorney in private practice and serves as a commissioner at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the region’s airports, ports and tunnels. He defeated Republican Marcos Arroyo and five others in the district.
Democrat Frank Pallone Jr. won a 19th term in the 6th District that includes parts of the Jersey Shore and Middlesex County.
Democrat Donald Norcross won reelection in the 1st District in southwestern New Jersey, and Democrat Donald Payne Jr, won a seventh term in the 10th District, which includes portions of Essex, Hudson and Union counties, and includes the cities of Newark and Orange.
Democrat Bill Pascrell won a new term in the 9th District, which includes his hometown of Paterson.
Democrats were defending 10 seats to the Republicans’ two in the first election since congressional districts were redrawn after the 2020 census.
The GOP was optimistic that it can win in the newly drawn 7th District, where incumbent Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski faces a rematch against Republican former state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. The district picked up more Republican voters after its boundaries in the northwest were redrawn.
Malinowski, who is seeking his third term, narrowly defeated Kean, a former state lawmaker and the son of former Republican Gov. Tom Kean Sr., in 2020. Malinowski first won election by defeating Republican incumbent Rep. Leonard Lance in 2018.
The race is among the most closely watched in New Jersey, which has no statewide contests or ballot questions this year.
Malinowski cast Kean as too reliant on support from voters loyal to former President Donald Trump to represent the district, which swung from reliably GOP to Democratic control during his years in the White House. Kean has seized on inflation as a top issue and hammers on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom he is betting is unpopular with voters.
Malinowski is a former Obama administration official and supported impeaching Trump as well the $1 trillion infrastructure bill that Democratic President Joe Biden signed a year ago.
Kean served as the top Republican in the state Senate from 2008 until this year after declining to seek office again in last year’s election.
Democratic incumbents Mikie Sherrill in the 11th District in the northern part of the state and Andy Kim in the 3rd District in south and central New Jersey won election for a first term along with Malinowski in 2018. However, their districts became more Democratic when the boundaries were redrawn. Democrats who controlled the redistricting process.
The redistricting commission met months after reports that Malinowski had bought and sold stocks with a stake in the country’s COVID-19 response. There is no indication Malinowski acted on inside information to make his investment decisions and said he didn’t direct his broker to make particular trades.
Sherrill faces Republican challenger Paul DeGroot, who’s worked as a prosecutor in Passaic County, along with a Libertarian Party candidate.
Kim faces Republican Bob Healey, who runs a yacht company in southern New Jersey, and two other candidates.