The polls are now open in New Jersey as voters cast their ballots for the next governor, for eight State Assembly seats, on an open space bond issue, and for a multitude of county and municipal offices.
Polls show the race for governor between incumbent Jon Corzine and former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie to be too close to call. Corzine, 62, a Wall Street mega millionaire who entered politics nine years ago as a U.S. Senate candidate, had trailed by double digits until late this summer and has now closed the gap in his bid for a second term. Christie, 47, who won headlines for his war on political corruption over the last seven years, seeks to become the state's first Republican gubernatorial winner since 1997.
The wildcard in the race is an independent candidate, former state Environmental Protection Commissioner Christopher Daggett. Daggett qualified for matching funds, won the Star-Ledger endorsement, and has been polling in the low double digits. He is likely to be a spoiler, either for Corzine or Christie.
Today's election also features the first race for Lt. Governor. Corzine picked State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck), while Christie's running mate is Monmouth County Sheriff Kim Guadagno. Daggett is running with Dr. Frank Esposito, a former Kean University professor and administrator.
Democrats are widely expected to retain their 48-32 majority in the State Assembly. The most competitive race is in District 1, which includes Cape May and parts of Cumberland and Atlantic counties. Two Democratic incumbents, Nelson Albano (D-Vineland) and Matthew Milam (D-Vineland), face tough challenges from Michael Donohue, a former prosecutor, and John McCann, a realtor.
No Republican incumbents look to be in trouble.
There are races for control of county freeholder boards in Atlantic, Burlington, Monmouth, Salem and Warren counties. Republicans have a chance to pick up seats in Bergen and Cumberland counties.