ELIZABETH, NJ (PIX11) — Tuesday is Primary day in the Garden State.
These crucial, historically low-turnout elections set the stage for this coming November. A dozen House districts are on the ballot in New Jersey.
Voters outside George Washington Elementary School in Elizabeth highlighted gas prices, inflation, crime and transportation as top issues driving their decision making. They were standing in the 8th Congressional District, which is seeing a shakeup. After more than 15 years in Congress, Albio Sires is retiring, and in the deep blue 8th, the Democratic Primary very likely will decide the winner.
Running with most of the institutional support is Rob Menendez, son of sitting United States Sen. Bob Menendez. Former Democratic New Jersey State Legislator John Wisniewski said the race is Menendez’ to lose.
“I think he is a fairly sure bet to get the nomination,” Wisniewski said. “He is the party line candidate, and the party line generally wins in Hudson County.”
Separately, the New Jersey primary may be one of the earliest ripples ahead of a so-called “red wave” for Republicans this November. The state’s laws allow independent, unaffiliated voters to walk into polling places and decide to vote in either the Republican or the Democratic primary.
The few PIX11 found doing this reached for a GOP ballot.
“Those are signals that can be used to predict what will happen in November,” Wisniewski said.
Wisniewski agrees 2022 will be a tough year for his party nationally. He says of issues like inflation, high gas prices and a potential direct war Russia: “this toxic stew of issues, it does not get much worse for Democrats.”
Polls close in New Jersey at 8 p.m.