NJ’s party bosses control the primary ballots, giving their preferred candidates the top spot. Advocates, candidates and now lawmakers want that changed.
Julia Sass Rubin, a professor at Rutgers University who researches New Jersey’s electoral system, has found that chosen candidates in Column 1 on the ballot enjoy a near-insurmountable advantage in primary elections.
Her study of state elections shows that no state legislator seeking reelection has been defeated in a primary since 2009. And this: No congressional incumbent from New Jersey has lost a primary in the past half-century, even as primary challengers unseated dozens of incumbents in other states during the same time. Rubin says Democratic Party bylaws in 17 of 21 New Jersey counties don’t even mention the possibility of an open convention where primary candidates could present their credentials and make an argument for themselves.