TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s 12 U.S. House races are atop the ticket for voters who’ll wrap up casting ballots on Tuesday in this year’s midterm contest.
Democrats are defending 10 seats to the Republicans’ two in the first election since congressional districts were redrawn after the 2020 census.
Polls opened at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m., though voters had an early in-person voting window that closed Sunday. Voters also have been sending mail-in ballots for weeks as well.
The GOP is 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.
Incumbents are seeking reelection in every House race except one: Robert Menendez, the son of Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, is the Democrats’ nominee to fill the 8th District seat 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 faces Republican Marcos Arroyo and five others in the district.