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Election preview: New Jersey voters face a short primary ballot, few choices for governor

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June 3, 2013

New Jersey

By Maresa Strano

TRENTON, New Jersey: Two state executive seats are up for election in New Jersey in 2013: governor and lieutenant governor. This Tuesday, June 4, 2013, the state's major party voters will nominate their candidates for governor. After the primary, gubernatorial candidates have 30 days to select a lieutenant gubernatorial running mate. They will be elected on a single ticket in the general election on November 5, 2013

Incumbent Gov. Chris Christie (R) and Lt. Gov Kim Guadagno (R) are both running for re-election. The 2013 election will mark the second lieutenant gubernatorial election in New Jersey history and the second time Christie and Guadagno will share the Republican ticket. The position of lieutenant governor was created as the result of a Constitutional amendment to the New Jersey State Constitution passed by the voters on November 8, 2005.

Christie announced his bid for re-election on November 26, 2012, the day before Quinnipiac University released a poll showing Christie's approval rating soaring to 72%, compared to 56% in October and previous record high of 59% from April.[1][2] The peak job approval ratings from New Jersey voters were Christie's reward for his performance in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.[3] Polling figures have continuously reaffirmed Christie's place in the public's good graces leading up to the June 4 primary contest against challenger Seth Grossman.

In early 2013, names of potential Democratic candidates for New Jersey Governor defected to a new list - supporters of presumptive nominee Barbara Buono, a state Senator. Buono was the only individual from her party to formally enter the race until the April 1 primary candidate filing deadline; Four additional Democrats ultimately filed for the Democratic primary nomination, as well as one Republican candidate. After petition challenges knocked off three of the additional Democratic entrants, however, only Troy Webster will appear alongside Buono on the June 4 primary ballot.[4][5]

In February, when Buono's campaign passed the $380,000 fundraising mark to qualify for the state's public matching-funds program, Christie had already raised $2 million for his re-election campaign. Unlike in 2009, Christie stated that he will not accept matching funds in the 2013 primary.[6] By the time they filed their candidate nominating petitions, Christie had raised over $5 million, while Buono had $1 million.[7] Despite Buono’s expanding campaign coffer and list of endorsements, which includes the Democratic Governors’ Association and EMILY's List, she faces an uphill battle in challenging Christie. The incumbency advantage aside, Christie’s fundraising prowess and popularity--especially since Hurricane Sandy--among heavyweights from both major parties shield him against an upset in November.

The New Jersey gubernatorial election was rated by the Washington Post as one of the top five races to watch in 2013.[8]

Polling locations for tomorrow's primaries in New Jersey will be open 6:00 am until 8:00 pm EST.[9]

Here is a complete list of gubernatorial candidates competing in the primary election June 4, certified official by the New Jersey Department of State:

See also

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References