WNYC's Bob Hennelly is an award-winning investigative journalist. While at WNYC he has reported on a wide gamut of major public policy questions ranging from immigration and homeland security to power outages and utility mergers.
Monday is the deadline for candidates for New Jersey's state and local offices to submit petitions to get on the June 4 party primary ballot.
So far, the primary race garnering the most attention is the battle for the 34th District State Senate seat, currently held by Democrat Nia Gill, an attorney who has represented Essex County for a decade. Prior to the Senate, Gill served in the state Assembly from 1994 until 2001. She is currently the Senate President Pro Tempore.
In the Democratic primary, the 65-year-old Gill will face 48-year-old Mark Alexander, a professor at Seton Hall Law School. Alexander is best known for his role as policy director for President Barack Obama's 2008 bid and as the director of Obama's New Jersey primary campaign.
Gill ran last year unsuccessfully for the Congressional seat that was long held by the late Donald Payne.
The heavily Democratic district includes Montclair, Orange and Clifton. The winner of the primary is heavily favored to win the November election.
This June, incumbent mayors in Edison, East Orange and Parsippany also face primary challenges. Historically, voter participation in primaries are just a fraction of turnout for the General election in November.
This fall's New Jersey governor's race is pretty much all set: state Senator Barbara Buono, of Metuchen is taking on Republican incumbent Chris Christie.
But, according to the state election web site, Buono has at least one Democratic opponent: Carl Bergmanson of Glen Ridge, running under the slogan Democrats For Change.