What you need to know about the NJ primary election

Democrats' road to controlling any part of Congress could cut through New Jersey this fall - but first, primary voters will have their say.

Polls open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the state's Democratic and Republican voters, with contests for the U.S. Senate seat and in all but three of New Jersey's 12 House seats.

Incumbents face challenges in the Senate contest, where Democrat Bob Menendez will face a well-funded former pharmaceutical executive, if both survive the primary.

Menendez is running for his third six-year term after facing little primary competition in his previous two elections. This year he faces publisher Lisa McCormick, who mounted a campaign for governor last year before backing another candidate.

Republican challenger Bob Hugin, 63, headed biopharmaceutical company Celgene until this year and has largely self-financed his campaign, earning broad GOP support against construction company executive Brian Goldberg.

Voters will be going to the polls just weeks after the Senate Ethics Committee rebuked Menendez for accepting valuable gifts - and failing to report them - while using his position to advance the donor's personal business interests.

Menendez was indicted on charges that he accepted lavish gifts, including luxury trips to Paris, from his long-time friend Dr. Salomon Melgen in return for help settling a Medicaid billing dispute. The case was eventually dropped after a hung jury last year, but the Senate committee admonished Menendez over the gifts.

MORE: Judge declares mistrial in Sen. Menendez trial | Key dates in the bribery case against Sen. Bob Menendez

On the House side, Democratic incumbents have challengers in three races, while Republican Leonard Lance is the only member of the GOP with a challenger. Two Republican incumbents are retiring from Congress.



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