Primary election voters in South Jersey on Tuesday will choose candidates in a range of races, including the closely watched Third Congressional District.
Without a statewide race for U.S. Senate or governor, low turnout is expected, even in the Third District, which spans Ocean and Burlington Counties and includes Cherry Hill in Camden County.
That district contains 456,000 registered voters, but only its 131,100 Democrats and 113,150 Republicans may vote in their primaries on June 8. Analysts expect many of the party voters to stay home because neither primary has been engaging.
Party-backed former Eagles offensive lineman Jon Runyan faces former Tabernacle councilman Justin Murphy in the Republican primary for the chance to unseat freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. John Adler.
With the party behind him, and his name recognition at least in the Burlington County and Cherry Hill sections of the district, Runyan comes to the day favored to win. But Murphy, 44, now of Medford, has run for this seat before, coming in a strong third. The winner of that 2008 primary, however, took twice as many votes as Murphy.
Runyan, 36, of Mount Laurel, retired from football this year as a San Diego Charger. Looking for something else to do last year, he was approached by Assemblywoman Dawn Addiego (R., Burlington), who persuaded him to try his hand at politics.
A new candidate, Runyan has been tentative on the campaign trail, sticking to a script in public appearances.
Adler, who has a less challenging primary opponent, has been equally controlled, speaking through his campaign on political matters and only holding congressional events.
Barry Bendar, 54, of Forked River, says he is running in the Democratic congressional primary because he's angry with Adler for voting against President Obama's health-care plan. He has reported raising no money for his campaign and is unlikely to rack up many votes on his own. Analysts, however, suspect that liberal Democratic primary voters may vote for him simply to protest Adler's health-care vote.
Elsewhere Tuesday there are feisty Republican primaries for county offices.
In Gloucester County, a Republican feud has let to a four-slate primary for two open freeholder seats.
The party's machine-endorsed candidates are Larry Wallace, of Woolwich, and Vincent Nestore Jr., of Deptford.
Challengers include Rose Yerka, of Woodbury Heights, and Brandon Gurk, of Mantua, who are running under the banner "Gloucester County GOP."
A third slate, "Conservative Republicans for Gloucester County," consists of Andy Savicky, a psychiatrist and professor from Glassboro, and Patrick Schubert Sr., a factory foreman from Paulsboro. Another GOP faction is running Ron Brittin, of Mantua, and Tony Celeste, of Monroe, who call themselves "Conservative Republicans Putting Taxpayers First."
Democrats have an uncontested primary and are running newcomers Heather Simmons, a public relations consultant from Glassboro, and Robert Zimmerman, a police captain from Mantua.
In Camden County, eight Republicans are battling for the party nomination to run for two freeholder seats.
The county GOP endorsed Scot De Cristofaro, of Haddon Township, and George J. Zallie, of Cherry Hill, the owner of a chain of Shop Rite supermarkets in South Jersey.
Challengers to the county committee candidates are Gene M. Mignogna, of Pennsauken; Bernard I. Shuster, of Cherry Hill; Joseph A. Hughes, of Atco; Frank Snyder, of Cherry Hill; Keith C. Beebe Jr., of Gloucester Township; and John C. Ruschak, of Gloucester Township.
Democratic Freeholders Edward T. McDonnell, of Pennsauken, and Carmen G. Rodriguez, of Merchantville, are running in an uncontested primary.
Camden County also has a handful of contested municipal primaries.
In Camden City, Republicans Clyde E. Cook and Edward D. Torres are campaigning to run against Democrat Deborah Person-Polk, appointed to City Council in February after Gilbert Wilson resigned to take a seat in the state Assembly.
In Lawnside, Democrats Mary Ann Wardlow, Stephen C. Moore, and Clifford L. Still Sr. are competing to be the borough's next mayor; no Republicans have filed to run.
In Runnemede, Democrats Ginny Betteridge and Bertha Kalvaitis are running for mayor. And Democrats Lisa Scaramuzzo, Joseph Aupperle, Frank Williams, and Ed White and running for two council seats. No Republicans are signed up for the November election.
In Stratford, Steven Easterday and Stephen Venuto, who have the endorsement of the county Republican Party, are running against Albert Adolf and Kim Berdine to see who will run on the Republican ticket in the November election for two town council seats.
Evesham Township, Burlington County, will have its first ever primary election thanks to a change in the law moving elections there from nonpartisan to partisan. It has a contest between incumbent Mayor Randy Brown and Pat Haynes in the GOP primary.
Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.
Polls open today at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.
If voters have trouble at the polls, they may call the state Division of Elections at 609-292-3760.