New Jersey’s 1st legislative district is the southernmost region in the state, covering Cape May and parts of Atlantic and Cumberland counties.
It is one of the few districts where the lawmakers are not members of the party in the majority. The plurality of voters is unaffiliated, but of those registered, Republicans outnumber Democrats.
Yet the incumbents are three Democrats: Sen. Jeff Van Drew, a dentist who has been in the Legislature since 2002; Assemblyman Nelson Albano, a supermarket shop steward in his fourth term; and Bob Andrzejczak, a former Army sergeant appointed to fill an opening earlier this year.
Their Republican opponents are Susan Schmidt, president of a communications consulting firm, for Senate; and Cumberland County Freeholder Samuel Fiocchi and Cape May Freeholder Kristine Gabor seeking Assembly seats.
Tom Greto, a retired businessman and Army veteran, is running for the Senate seat as an independent.
This is considered among the most competitive races in the state in part because of the GOP skew, which having popular Gov. Chris Christie atop the ticket could magnify. Two years ago, Fiocchi was only about 50 votes shy of winning an Assembly seat. Having joined the Assembly earlier this year, Andrzejczak is not well known and his electability has not yet been tested. The Republicans are running an aggressive campaign, but the incumbent Van Drew is possibly the most conservative Democrat in the Senate and he won comfortably with more than 54 percent of the vote in 2011. Albano polled even higher than Van Drew.
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