The 2012 Voter Guide: Covering NJ’s Candidates and Contests

NJ Spotlight's interactive guide puts 18 races and 61 contests at your fingertips

Both parties’ presidential nominees may be decided, but there are still a dozen high-profile battles around the state — including the crowded Republican U.S. Senate field — to draw voters to the polls on June 5.

With fewer than three weeks to go until then, NJ Spotlight is launching its 2012 Voter Guide, where voters can learn more about the candidates and their positions on key issues. Supplementing the guide, we will be providing in-depth coverage of each primary contest.

In half of New Jersey’s newly constituted 12 congressional districts, there is a race to win the nomination of either the Democratic or Republican party. In three others, the 2nd in South Jersey and 5th and 9th in the north, both parties have contests.

The 9th District also has one of the most watched primaries in the state.

The battle in that district, which covers portions of Bergen, Passaic and Hudson counties, is the direct result of redistricting. New Jersey lost a seat in Congress because the state’s population did not grow as fast as others as measured by the 2010 U.S. Census. The commission that redrew the lines combined portions of the districts represented by U.S. Reps. Steven Rothman and Bill Pascrell, both Democrats. Rothman’s hometown was moved into the Republican-leaning 5th, but rather than run against the incumbent Republican there, Rothman chose to move into the 9th. Three Republicans also filed for their party’s nod in the 9th.

In the neighboring 10th, which covers portions of Essex, Union, and Hudson counties, the death last month of U.S. Rep. Donald Payne has left a vacancy. Six Democrats, four of whom hold some other elective office, have filed to replace him in the new congress. There is also a special election to replace Payne through the end of the current Congress in early January and three of the same six candidates are running in that election, as well.

Other districts with contests include the 1st, 4th and 6th in the south, the 7th in central Jersey and the 8th in the north.

Statewide, there’s a four-way race to represent the GOP in November against U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat. Two special elections for Assembly seats also have primary contests.

Voters can get more information about the background of each candidate, as well as a link to each candidate’s website, from the guide. NJ Spotlight has also asked each person running to answer questions related to education, the environment, health care and spending.

By entering your address, you will be taken to the page for your congressional district and can see candidates’ information and views. Each district page also features a map of the district and links to news articles on the race. There are also links to other election-related information, including campaign reports for each candidate and voting records for the incumbents. You can also choose to browse through all 18 races, including those that are uncontested, and 61 candidates.

NJ Spotlight will also be covering all the contested races.