All on the Line: InsiderNJ’s June 4th Races to Watch

One week remains before the June 4th Primary. Some key races to watch, especially against the backdrop of a controversial judge’s ruling on ballot bracketing, which could play havoc with the results:

Passaic County Sherrif: Democratic Primary


The Passaic County Democratic Committee backs newcomer Tom Adamo against former Sheriff Jerry Speziale for the job held by the late Richard Berdnik.

Once the darling of the Passaic Dems, Speziale ran afoul of Chairman John


Currie in the Christie era, detoured to Alabama, and reemerged as the police director for Paterson Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres.  Bruce Springsteen with a badge, or so say his backers, Speziale remained at PD long after corruption flushed Torres out of office and Mayor Andre Sayegh assumed the reins of government.

Will Speziale’s name ID overcome the organization?

That’s the question in this intriguing matchup where Chairman Currie puts it all on the line to withstand an old nemesis.

Murphy and Conaway.


CD-3: Democratic Primary

Two colleagues, Assemblyman Herb Conaway and Assemblywoman Carol Murphy go head-to-head for the seat of U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ).

Well positioned to succeed indictment-pockmarked Bob Menendez, Kim is on the ballot as a Democratic Primary candidate for United States Senate.

Three party organizations (Burlington, Monmouth, and Mercer) picked veteran Conaway over Murphy, but a judge subsequently blew up the party lines, giving Murphy a shot.

Will Conaway’s impressive professional credentials, unique competence, and years of party service outweigh Team Campaign’s campaign prowess (the assemblywoman is married to veteran political operative Mike Muller)?

That’s the question in CD-3.

Serrano Glassner and Bashaw.


U.S. Senate: Republican Primary

Businessman Curtis Bashaw won the lion’s share of party lines in a statewide GOP tilt. But Mendham Borough Mayor Christine Serrano Glassner subsequently received the Wildwood endorsement of former President Donald J. Trump.

Unlike the Democratic Primary, the party lines still apply in this GOP Primary season.

Can Bashaw withstand Trump, or is the cult-like status of an indicted former president who urged a mob to march on the U.S. Capitol to overturn the 2020 election too much to overcome?

Menendez Jr. and Bhalla.


CD-8 Congressional Race: Democratic Primary

Trying to drive through the toxic haze of his father’s corruption trial, U.S. Rep. Rob Menendez faces a challenge from Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla. As in other Democratic Primary contests, a judge’s decision to dispense with the organization lines on a legal challenge by Andy Kim could significantly impact this contest. Backed by the once powerful Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO), Menendez in past years might have been able to simply bank on the line to get him comfortably over the finish line.

But the combination of no conventional bracketing, an indicted father, and a well-financed challenger make this a real race, at least by the usually monolithic, organization-smothering standards of Hudson County.

The young Menendez trusts that he’s built enough goodwill to get through the crisis.

Perth Amboy Mayor 

In Middlesex County’s most Democratic town, incumbent Helmin Caba will try to score a win for the

Perth Amboy City Hall
Perth Amboy City Hall

Middlesex County Democratic Organization. He faces two challengers: attorney Joe Vas, Jr. and Judge and former Council President Kenneth Gonzalez.

Again, as in Passaic, Hudson, and Essex (see below), the contest will test the degree to which the Middlesex Democratic machine can withstand the judge’s ruling in a partisan election season.

Bloomfield Mayor

The departure to the state legislature by Assemblyman (and former Mayor) Mike Venezia sets up a showdown between interim Mayor Ted Gamble and Councilwoman Jenny Mundell. It’s complicated, but Mundell possesses the backing of the Essex County organization, while Gamble has put his chips on an organization-defying atmosphere.



Also, don’t forget the Toms River GOP Primary.

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3 responses to “All on the Line: InsiderNJ’s June 4th Races to Watch”

  1. A vote for Christie supporter Bashaw is a slap in the face to Donald Trump. The media and NeverTrumpers will gloat and LUV it!

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