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October 16, 2014

New Jersey has not one, but two, competitive Congressional races this November, but the one that has the best chance of unseating the incumbent is a surprise to many pundits, according to a new poll.

The Monmouth University Poll recently surveyed voters in the 5th District and found that Democrat Roy Cho is “within striking distance” of unseating incumbent Republican Scott Garrett, consistently rated as one of the most conservative members of Congress.

Garrett, who won his district by a 12-point margin two years ago, saw his district reconfigured after the 2010 census with a number of Bergen County Democratic towns appended to what had been an almost purely Republican district. The 5th District encompasses the most northern part of the state.

The Monmouth poll showed 48 percent of potential voters saying they would support Garret and 43 percent saying they would support Cho. About 6 percent are still undecided.

“This race was not even a blip on most political prognosticators’ radar screens,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth Polling Institute, in a statement. “It should be now.”

The race that was supposed to be the tightest in the state and that has garnered national attention is the 3rd Congressional District. That district is located in South Jersey and encompasses much of the Philadelphia suburbs, stretching from the Delaware to the Jersey shore and is fairly split between party registrations. It pits Republican newcomer to the region, former Randolph mayor Tom MacArthur, against Democrat Aimee Belgard, a Burlington County freeholder.

The Monmouth Poll has MacArthur leading Belgard 51 percent to 41 percent with 6 percent undecided. Earlier in the season pollsters had the two candidates in a dead heat.

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