Flowers are blooming, trees are in bud, and spring has long been in the air in . It's the season for June political primaries, and in anticipation, political candidates are setting up their local headquarters.
This time, though, things are a little different.
Come Thursday, a candidate from one of 2010's most watched political contests in New Jersey will be opening campaign headquarters in Woodbridge.
Thing is, two years ago, Anna Little wasn't running for Congress in Woodbridge.
She is now. That's because the 2010 census cost New Jersey a congressional seat and bumped Woodbridge into the 6th District, where Little, a Republican, ran against incumbent Congressman Frank Pallone (D-6).
And for the first time in recent memory, all 10 sections of Woodbridge Township will be united in one Congressional district, rather than the 7th or 13th that the township had been split into before.
Woodbridge has long been a martyr to the fine art of Congressional gerrymandering. Most of the township is currently located in the 7th District, an area served by , a moderate Republican whose home base is in Westfield area.
In the 2000 census, the Sewaren and Port Reading sections of the township were severed - congressionally speaking - from Woodbridge and incorporated into the 13th District, run by Democratic Congressman Albio Sires whose power base is in the northern part of the state. Sires' 13th district snakes its way down the New Jersey coastline from West New York in Hudson County to end south of Sewaren in Perth Amboy.
Come January, the entire township will be reunited in the 6th District. The question remains about who will be holding the seat.
Pallone, a Democrat who has served as the congressional representative since 1992, faced off against Little two years ago. The progressive Democrat easily won over Little, a former Monmouth County freeholder, mayor of Highlands, and a nominee endorsed by the state's Tea Party movement.
While Pallone bested Little 55 percent to 43 percent, a margin of 16,000 votes, it was the first time since he ran for the seat that he failed to win his home base of Monmouth County.
Moving heavily Democratic Woodbridge to the 6th District would seem to be an excellent strategy in helping Pallone retain his seat.
But first things first. Little won the endorsement of the Middlesex County Republican Organization at their convention earlier in March against Ernesto Cullari, an entrepreneur and political newcomer from Toms River who also says he is a "proud member of the Tea Party."
Little will be facing Cullari for the Republican nomination in the June primary.
While Pallone doesn't face a primary challenge, he has been carefully raising his profile around the Woodbridge area in a low key way, appearing at various events.
Little's headquarters in Woodbridge, located at 5308 Amboy Avenue, will have a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, April 19, at 5 pm.