New Jersey continues to lean blue for statewide federal seats, although the House delegation is likely to split 50-50 in November.
The latest Quinnipiac University poll, released yesterday, gives President Obama a 49 percent to 38 percent lead over Republican Mitt Romney, who has the vocal backing of Gov. Chris Christie.
U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez has an even bigger lead over his GOP opponent, state Sen. Joe Kyrillos, R-Monmouth and another strong Christie ally, 46-32.
“Sen. Robert Menendez is close to the magic 50 percent mark, and has a comfortable double-digit lead over the little-known state Sen. Joseph Kyrillos,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
The ballot is more crowded though than just these two major party candidates. One Libertarian, one Green party candidate and seven independents are also running.
Information on all the candidates running for federal and state seats is available in NJ Spotlight's Voter Guide.The guide has been updated to include candidates who have filed and will contain biographical information, as well as their views on key issues.
And there are a lot of candidates: 74 are running in 14 federal races and for three unexpired state Assembly seats.
For U.S. Senate, with more than three months until the election, “Menendez is running as well in his race as President Barack Obama is doing against Gov. Mitt Romney ... Scratch New Jersey off any swing state lists," Carroll said.
Kyrillos has been traveling around the state trying to raise his profile and attack Menendez over jobs and the economy, but so far is only leading in his home state of Monmouth, the poll shows.
Ignoring the fact that Kyrillos trailed Menendez by 14 percentage points, his campaign issued a statement noting that the incumbent still did not have the support of half of those polled, despite having spent almost two decades in Washington.
“Bob Menendez has failed New Jersey -- unemployment is much higher, our deficit is much higher, and the standard of living for middle-class families is lower than when he was elected to the Senate,” said Kyrillos campaign manager Chapin Fay, calling the 37 percent favorable rating Menendez received “anemic.”
“Senator Menendez fights back for New Jersey's middle class because it is the right thing to do, not because it may help him with polls,” countered Michael Soliman, Menendez’s campaign manager. “Senator Menendez’s message of fighting back for the middle class is resonating with New Jersey voters.”
The incumbent also has a large financial edge. Their most recent reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show Menendez had $10 million cash on hand on June 30 while Kyrillos had less than $2 million through May 16. In releases, Kyrillos’ campaign said the challenger had raised $1.3 million in the second quarter, though that is not yet reflected by the FEC. Menendez had raised almost $1.7 million in the same period.
For the chance to serve in the U.S. Congress, at least one independent is running in each of New Jersey's 12 House districts for new two-year terms, in addition to a representative of each of the major parties. The only race without both parties represented is the one for the unexpired seat of Rep. Donald M. Payne, who died last March, while representing the Newark-centered 10th District. Payne's son, Donald Jr., won the Democratic primary for the right to represent the district only until the end of the current session on Jan.3. No Republican filed. One independent is also in the race.
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