This year, because of the presidential race, local races will not hold as much clout as in non-presidential years. However, with the congressional race between Republican incumbent Scott Garrett and Democratic challenger Josh Gottheimer heating up in New Jersey’s fifth congressional district and the impending presidential race, turnout is likely to be especially high this year in the district. With many voters from both parties who don’t usually make their way to the polls expected to cast ballots in November, the spike in turnout could impact small council races district-wide due to down ballot voting trends.
Because Garrett and Republicans are expected to have a clean sweep of the district towns in the more rural parts of the NJ-5 including towns in Sussex and Warren Counties, Democrats are likely to focus on Bergen in November. With the county’s recent trend toward blue, extra focus from county parties is likely from both sides as they attempt to keep power or shift it favorably. Bergen County currently has about 75 percent of the total voters in NJ-5.
While this list is not all-inclusive of the towns that will have competitive races in NJ-5 this year, what they have in common is a combination of Republican and Democratic power that could easily shift one way or another depending on turnout and other factors.