Zero Hour: Updates in Five Primary-Battleground Congressional Districts



Alert to the demographically different dimensions of the district he hopes to serve, the long-serving LD1 Senator Jeff Van Drew opened an Atlantic City headquarters late in the game. He has all the party organization lines (eight of eight) against retired school teacher Tanzie Youngblood, and so appears well positioned to win. Attacked repeatedly by former Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi and former FBI special agent Robert Turkavage, with one eye on movement conservative Seth Grossman in a jagged field, Republican frontrunner Linwood engineer Hirsh Singh, for his part, picked up the endorsement of Trump devotee (and unsuccessful 2017 gubernatorial candidate Steve Rogers).



Alert to the possibility of progressive pushback, Democratic Primary front-runner Josh Welle – who wants to take on U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-4) in the general – said over 100 Welle volunteers knocked on over 5K doors in all three of the district’s counties. Welle wants to kayo rival Jim Keady, who lacks party organization support in Monmouth, Ocean and Monmouth but is running a galvanize the base campaign.


Running to go up against U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-5), who has nearly $4 million in the bank to take on whichever Republican crosses him, former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan has spent the primary (and half a million dollars) demonizing his opponent, a disorganized and poorly funded Bergen attorney John McCann, as a Democrat in GOP garb. A down-the-stretch mail piece released by Lonegan featured McCann dressed as Bigfoot.



In addition to possessing all the party organization lines in his quest to take on U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7) in the fall, former Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski has the benefit of two Democratic Primary challengers canceling each other out with equally aggressive progressive campaigns. The question here is whether Summit attorney Goutam Jois has done enough to defeat the 2016 Democratic nominee for the seat, Peter Jacob, for second place behind Malinowski. Jois certainly has the most visible sign presence throughout much of the 7th District.


The main story here on the Republican side is the vigor with which both Tony Ghee and Peter DeNeufville have attacked frontrunner Jay Webber. Early on, it looked like the one shot for Ghee, who has the lines in both Essex and Passaic counties, would be to run up the score in those two counties while hoping that the Morris-based DeNeufville would impair Webber in Morris. But DeNeufville doesn’t see it that way. He’s run an aggressive, well-funded and well-messaged campaign late, in an attempt to give voters the impression that he’s more viable than anyone else in the contest. The effect of a well-organized (in two counties at least) Ghee and operational DeNeufville has Webber working hard, cramming his schedule with public events down the stretch as he attempts to seal the deal. On the Democratic side, the financially well-connected Tamara Harris has run to Mikie Sherrill’s left, but lacks organizational support against the marquee Democratic congressional challenger in the state.


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