They will be at the top of the ballot this November, but relatively few voters may know much about them. To some, they may be no more than names. To others, they may not even be that.
Who are they?
The 264 candidates for the state legislature. And name recognition isn't nearly enough.
The New Jersey legislature wields quite a bit of power. Even Gov. Chris Christie, widely considered to hold the most powerful governorship in the country, can't get much done without the consent of the legislature.
Thus far, Christie has held sway -- even though the legislature is split in favor of the Democrats (24-16), they do not hold a veto-proof majority. Nor are they unified on many of the controversial issues that have been -- or will be -- up for vote.
This year’s election could change that legislative arithmetic.
To help voters sort through the candidates and their positions, NJ Spotlight has put together the 2011 Voter Guide. It lists all the candidates up for election this year, including independents.
Further, we’ve asked each of them to respond to a few questions that relate to issues that are guaranteed to come to a vote in the next legislative session. Thus far, 44 candidates, or about 17 percent, have responded. NJ Spotlight will continue to urge all candidates to participate up until Election Day.