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Ballot Basics: Voters Head to the Polls Tuesday

10th Congressional Democratic race has an interesting twist

Ballot Basics: Voters Head to the Polls Tuesday

Tuesday, June 5, is primary election day, when voters will select their party’s candidates for a variety of elected offices, from President of the United States to member of the county committee.

Both parties’ winners Tuesday will stand in the general election to be held in November. Polls will be open tomorrow from 6 am to 8 pm.

Congress

One of the most hotly contested races this year is the Democratic Party nomination for the 10th Congressional District seat, which is being sought by six candidates. The district includes much of Newark as well as parts of West Orange, Montclair and Bloomfield, as well as all of Irvington, East Orange, Glen Ridge, South Orange and Maplewood in Essex County. The district also includes part of Union County and  portions of Jersey City and Bayonne in Hudson County.

Brian Keleman of Bayonne is running uncontested for the Republican Party nomination.

The 10th District seat opened up following the death of incumbent Donald Payne Sr. in March. Payne’s death has resulted in an unusual circumstance: candidates can run for two separate offices, one for the remaining few weeks of Payne’s last term and the other for the new, two-year congressional term, which officially begins in January 2013.

Three of the Democratic candidates are running for both offices, while the other three are only seeking the nomination to run for the term that begins in 2013. If a candidate wins the nomination to run for both the remaining term and the new term, then goes on to win the general election in November, that candidate will take office a few weeks later.

There is also the possibility that one candidate will win the Democratic nomination to serve out the remainder of Payne’s unexpired term and another candidate will win the Democratic nomination to run for the new term to begin in 2013. Only three of the candidates -- Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith, Newark Municipal Councilman Ron Rice and Donald Payne Jr., Rice’s colleague on the Newark governing body and son of the late congressman -- are all seeking to win both offices.

Should either Payne, Smith or Rice win the "remainder" nomination but not the  race for a full term, however, it is likely that the partly successful candidate would wthdraw from the congressional race altogther. All three men already hold elected office, and the winner would be forced to surrender his  post (members of Congress can hold no other elected office) in order to hold the 10th District seat for just a few weeks, from mid-November until early January, when the congressperson-elect would then be sworn in for the full term.

The three other Democratic candidates -- Cathy Wright of Newark, a former manager at AT&T, Dennis Flynn of Glen Ridge, an Air Force veteran, and state Sen. Nia Gill of Montclair -- are only seeking the new term. Keleman, the Republican candidate, is also only running for the term beginning in 2013.

Congressional districts have recently been redrawn as they are every decade following the release of  US Census results, and some Newark residents who had been in the 13th Congressional District are now in the 8th. Along with the eastern part of Newark, the new district also includes Belleville and parts of Bergen, Union and Hudson counties.

Incumbent Democrat Albio Spires, who has served eastern Newark since 2006, is again seeking the to represent the Ironbound and the rest of the new 8th District. His challenger is a 25-year-old Jersey City resident, Michael Shurin, a computer programmer. Republican Maria Karczewski, an office administrator from Bayonne, is running unopposed.  

Essex County Sheriff

Seeking the Democratic nomination for a three-year term to head up the Essex County Sheriff's Office are John Arnold, a former Newark police officer and a retired captain from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Herman Rivera, a retired sheriff’s detective, and Roger Terry, who had served as deputy chief of the Montclair Police Department untll his retirement.

Republican Orlando Mendez is running unopposed.

Other races

One of New Jersey’s two seats in the US Senate is in contention this year, the one now occupied by Robert Menendez of Union City, a Democrat who is running unopposed for his party’s nomination. He shares the top ballot line with incumbent President Barack Obama, who has long  been designated his party’s nominee and is also running unopposed.

On the Republican side, Joe Kyrillos -- running on the same line as presidential nominee Mitt Romney -- Bader Qarmout, David Brown and Joe Rullo are all seeking their party’s nomination for Senate.

A number of candidates appearing on the ballot are no longer running: the three former Republican candidates for President of the United States besides Romney, who officially gained enough pledged delegates to earn his party’s nomination late last month.

By then, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum had all officially left the race, although Paul supporters continue to amass delegates in hopes of having a voice at the Republican National Convention this summer.






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