Burlington County voters will face decisions during June primary
By the BCT staff Apr 4, 2016
Lynne Sladky / Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a news conference at the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida, on Tuesday, March 8, 2016.
New Jersey’s typical sleepy summer primary election could get a jolt of excitement this year thanks to the presidential race and several contested congressional races at the top of the Republican and Democratic ballots.
Monday was the filing deadline for the June 7 primary, and while the filings yielded few surprises — the presidential and congressional candidates have generally been known for the last several weeks — they did offer a glimpse of the contested primary matchups and also likely general election pairings down the ballot.
Leading the way at the top of the ballot are the Republican and Democratic presidential races.
On the Republican side, front-runner Donald Trump has a big lead in delegates over Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, but there’s a strong chance he may need New Jersey’s 51 Republican delegates to secure the party nomination and avoid a brokered GOP convention.
Gov. Chris Christie has backed Trump in the wake of his own early exit from the presidential race, but Burlington County’s Republican Committee has not endorsed a presidential candidate, meaning Trump, Cruz and Kasich will be bracketed separately from the county party’s endorsed congressional and county candidates.
On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a big lead over rival Bernie Sanders, but like Trump, she may also be short the required delegates entering June 7.
Unlike the Republicans, the Burlington County Democratic Committee has chosen to endorse in the presidential primary race and will put Clinton at the top of the party’s column.
Sanders will have his own column next to Clinton thanks to Democrats Michael Miller and Jeff Epstein, who have filed to run for the Burlington County Board of Freeholders and the County Surrogate’s Office to give Sanders a column.
Besides presidential contests, the most closely watched primary will likely be two Democratic congressional primaries in the 3rd and 1st districts.
In the 3rd District, Fred LaVergne, of Delanco, will be running against Jim Keady, of Spring Lake, in an intercounty primary battle for the right to take on incumbent Republican Tom MacArthur, of Toms River.
LaVergne will run with the advantage of having won the Burlington County Democratic Committee’s endorsement, which gives him the covered “party line” on the Democratic ballots in Burlington County. Keady won the Ocean County Democratic Committee’s endorsement.
The district is made up of almost all of Burlington County and a large portion of neighboring Ocean County.
MacArthur is running uncontested in the GOP primary.
In the 1st District, incumbent Democrat Donald Norcross, of Camden, is being challenged by 24-year-old former IBM consultant Alex Law, of Collingswood, in a race featuring the young Sanders supporter versus the powerful former state senator-turned-congressman.
The district is made up mostly of Camden and Gloucester counties, as well as Palmyra and Maple Shade in Burlington County.
The winner will face Republican Bob Patterson, of Voorhees, who is running uncontested in the GOP primary.
In the 2nd District, incumbent Republican Frank LoBiondo, of Ventnor, is being challenged by Edward Enes in the GOP primary. The victor will face the winner of the Democratic primary between David Cole, of Sewell, and Constantino “Tino” Rozzo, of Vineland.
Besides the presidential and congressional contests, there will also be a contested primary at the county level, where Sanders supporters Miller and Epstein will take on the county Democrats’ endorsed freeholder and surrogate candidates: Reva Foster, of Willingboro, and Sander Friedman, of Medford.
Democrat James Kostoplis, of Bordentown Township, will also run uncontested for county sheriff with Foster and Friedman.
Margaret Schweikert, of Delran, will run for the freeholder nomination under the banner “Delran Democratic Reform Team.”
The Democrats’ primary winners will take on a Republican slate of Latham Tiver, Mary Ann O’Brien and Jean Stanfield.
Tiver, of Southampton, is running for the freeholder seat held by Republican Joseph Donnelly, who opted not to seek re-election.
O’Brien, of Medford, serves as a freeholder, but is running for the surrogate’s post in place of incumbent Republican George Kotch, who also decided not to run for a new term.
Jean Stanfield is seeking her sixth term as sheriff.
In addition to those filings, dozens of candidates filed petitions to run for local offices in Burlington County’s towns.