New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy announced Wednesday that the state’s June 2 primaries will be postponed until July 7 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The move affects the state’s presidential and congressional contests.
“Preserving basic functions of our democracy is critical in this unprecedented time,” Murphy said in a statement after signing an executive order postponing the elections.
“Citizens exercising their right to vote should not have to risk their safety and the safety of others in order to make their voices heard,” Murphy said. “Postponing our primary elections is a difficult, yet necessary, choice to ensure that our citizens can partake in their civic duty of voting.”
The change raises questions about whether other states will go ahead with their votes on the same day that New Jersey decided would not be safe. Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island all moved elections to June 2, while Montana, New Mexico and South Dakota already had votes set for that date. Montana has said its voting would all be by mail.
New Jersey has several competitive congressional races after Democrats flipped House seats in 2018.
Freshman Democrats are defending three seats, two of which are competitive, according to ratings from Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales. Those are the 3rd District, represented by Rep. Andy Kim, which is rated Tilts Democratic, and the 7th District, represented by Rep. Tom Malinowksi, which is rated Leans Democratic. Democrat-turned-Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew, another freshman, is also defending his seat. Inside Elections rates that race Tilts Republican.