TRENTON, N.J. (AP/WTXF) -- Democrats' road to controlling any part of Congress could cut through New Jersey on Tuesday.
New Jersey voters are about to settle an expensive Senate race along with a dozen House seats, including two where Republican incumbents are retiring.
Polls open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menedez and former Celgene Corp. chief executive Bob Hugin face off in New Jersey's only statewide race as President Donald Trump and national Republicans defend a narrowly divided Senate.
Menendez, who is running for his third six-year term, is fighting to hold on in what experts say is an unexpectedly close contest against Hugin.
Hugin has given his campaign more than $30 million and seized on Menendez's 2017 federal corruption trial. It eventually ended with the charges being dropped, but also led to a harshly worded Senate Ethics Committee admonishment.
Hugin, meanwhile, is attacked as an ally of the president, who is unpopular in New Jersey. Menendez has attempted to paint Hugin as the "greedy CEO," a reference to Hugin's firm agreeing to pay $280 million last year over allegations it promoted cancer drugs that weren't approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Hugin retired as the drugmaker's top executive this year.
Experts say the race is tighter than expected given Democrats' 900,000-voter advantage.
Despite some built-in advantages Democrats face stiff competition in a handful of House contests.
New Jersey's 7th District is among the most closely watched in the country. Democrats have tagged it as a potential pickup opportunity as part of their effort to win at least 23 seats and control of the House.
Republican Rep. Leonard Lance faces Democratic challenger Tom Malinowski. Lance is seeking his sixth term. Malinowski is a former assistant state department secretary under Barack Obama.
Surveys show Democrats could also pick up House seats in two races where Republican incumbents are retiring. One of those races is for an open 11th District seat, as 12-term Republican incumbent Rodney Frelinghuysen is retiring.
Democrat Mikie Sherrill, a former federal prosecutor and Navy veteran, Republican Assemblyman Jay Webber, Libertarian Ryan Martinez and no-label candidate Robert Crook are on the ballot.
Polls have shown the race is close, though Sherrill has had a slight edge in surveys. Webber got a Twitter endorsement in September from Trump, who carried the district by a close margin in 2016.
Overall, analysts say it's hard to believe Democrats will win a clean sweep in New Jersey given the power of incumbency and gerrymandered districts whose lines were drawn to favor Republicans.
New Jersey voters, in addition to deciding competitive Senate and House races, will also decide whether to approve $500 million in bonds for educational projects.
It's the only question on the ballot on Nov. 6 and asks voters whether to approve the $500 million in new debt for school security, county colleges, vocational schools and water infrastructure.
The constitution requires voter approval of new debts.
The Democrat-led Legislature and Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy approved the bipartisan measure to get the question on the ballot, but not without a disagreement over the amount of the bonds.
Murphy halved the legislative proposal from $1 billion to $500 million, citing the state's already heavy debt load.
VOTER INFORMATION & RESOURCES
- Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Any voter in line by 8 p.m. is allowed to vote.
- To find your polling place, see here.
- To see if you are registered to vote, see here.
- To view a sample ballot based on your address, see here.
You can check election results as they come in below. App users click here to see results.