One hundred seventy Democrats and Republicans are competing for 80 Assembly seats, but only 24 of them face primary challenges on Tuesday for 10 of those seats.
Altogether, though, only four of the 80 seats are uncontested this fall, contrary to the national trend. More than a third of legislative candidates nationwide faced no opponents last November, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics.
Seventy incumbents are facing challenges, and if history is any indication, they’ll likely be successful. In the seven elections between 1999 and 2011, 97 percent of incumbent Assembly members won re-election, according to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
Republicans are trying to seize nine new seats to regain a majority, but Democratic candidates have both outraised and outspent Republicans 2-to-1.
By May 22, less than two weeks before the primary, Assembly candidates had raised more than $12.4 million. Of that, incumbents can take credit for the vast majority, more than $11.7 million.
Likewise, incumbents are also responsible for the majority of the spending so far. Of the $6.9 million spent by May 22, incumbents spent more than $6.5 million.
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto has raised the most money so far of all Assembly candidates — more than $817,000 — even though the Democrat doesn’t face a primary challenge.
Among Republicans, Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick was the top fundraiser and the top spender. Like Prieto, he faces an uncontested primary.
By May 22, contested primaries had accounted for just over $882,000 in money raised and about $632,000 spent — less than 10 percent of the total money raised and spent in these races.
In the sole special election for a state senate seat, Democrat Nilsa Cruz-Perez faces no opposition in Tuesday’s primary or in November yet still has raised over $66,000, nearly a quarter of which came from two local branches of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.