New Jersey 2024 primary voters unhappy with Trump and Biden

It wasn’t the main variety in the Garden State on Tuesday.

This included actually already elected presidential candidates; a U.S. Senate campaign in which an accused incumbent declared during his trial in New York that he would run as an independent; in a largely democratic country, Republicans could compete with Democrats among those voting at the polls.

The latter phenomenon had to do with the fact that about 10% of Democrats voted by mail compared to 5% of registered Republicans.

While turnout was generally reported to be low, it was high in Upper Township in Cape May County – one of seven counties in the state where Republicans have an advantage. However, several voters surveyed said hotly contested local committee races may have contributed to the higher turnout.

As for the top candidates in each poll, Inell Sutton, who voted in Burlington County, where a novel generation of voting machines sparked voter complaints and caused delays, seemed to sum up the sentiment of many major-party voters who voted in person on Tuesday.

“I wish we had better choices” in the presidential race

“Gosh, I wish we had better choices,” said Sutton, 48, a social worker outside the Nesbit Community Center in Pemberton Township.

Perhaps it’s not shocking that the unopposed Republican candidate, former President Donald J. Trump, and his unopposed Democratic rival, President Joe Biden, won their primaries.

Instead of Biden and Trump, Sutton preferred to talk about the Democratic candidate he voted for in the U.S. Senate, Andy Kim, whose expected departure from the U.S. House of Representatives has sparked a crowded race to replace him.

“I think he understands the struggles of disadvantaged people and will use his facilities to work for them,” Sutton said.

As for his choice in November’s general election, Sutton wavered for a while. “It would have to be Trump,” he said.

Similarly, Svetlana Perry, a 45-year-old Republican from Cherry Hill, said she had hoped to have other options in the presidential primary, perhaps Nikki Haley, but said she would vote for Trump.

Sara Kriesman said she’s not particularly excited about voting for Biden or Trump. However, Biden is definitely a better option, she said.

She said she thought Trump was “the devil incarnate.” The 46-year-old Cherry Hill Democrat said women’s rights were her top voting issue and she feared her daughters lived in a world where they had fewer rights than she did.

She described Biden as a “good man” who she said “has our best interests at heart.”

Nicole and Evan Cutler and their daughter Michelle, casting their first vote at age 18, all voted for Biden, although members of the Cherry Hill family said they would have preferred someone younger to run.

“They are edgier and would probably appeal to younger voters like me,” Michelle Cutler said. “These two big names are two old guys.”

In Upper Township in Cape May County, Cheryle Eisele, 78, a retired college professor, said she strongly supports Biden. She said of Trump: “I wouldn’t vote for a convicted felon.”

For Keith Humphrey, 55, of Woodstown, Salem County, his vote for Trump was about the economy.

“I support Jeff Van Drew for Senate and Donald Trump,” said Humphrey, a Republican. Trump, he said, is good for business and Biden is not.

“I did very well as a business owner under Trump,” he said. “But now there are more taxes and inflation. All the advantages I had are gone.”

In Medford Lakes in Burlington County, Christopher Verone, 75, who showed up to vote wearing a T-shirt with “true patriot” printed on the chest, agreed.

Verone cast his vote for Trump and believes New Jerseyans should do the same. Trump, Verone said, is a “true businessman” who “knows how to run the government like a business.”

He dismissed Trump’s recent conviction on 34 counts of falsifying business records under the hush money program.

Richard Cordry, 79, who voted in Mount Laurel, said that from what he has read about the Make America Great Again movement, Trump supporters are in a la la la economic situation.

“They’re basically like adults who still believe in Santa Claus,” he said. “They think Santa will come and give them things and Trump won’t do anything for any of them.”

Bob Menendez in voters’ minds, but not on the ballot

Like some other voters, Cordry chose to comment on someone who wasn’t on the ballot: Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, who is on trial in New York on corruption charges.

Menendez withdrew from the primary election and announced Monday that he would run as an independent candidate. In New Jersey, more than one-third of voters are registered as unaffiliated.

Cordry said he’s not a substantial fan of Menendez. “But I think all these politicians must have an ego, otherwise they wouldn’t be politicians,” he said.

Eisele, a retired college professor, said of Menendez: “I think he’s in bad shape right now. I think he made some bad choices.” She said she would not rule out voting for Menendez again if he is acquitted, but not in this election.

Janet Sayter, a 71-year-old who also voted Tuesday in Upper Township, said she would “never” consider voting for Menendez. “I didn’t respect him for a long time,” she said.

Jason Frazier, 46, of Cherry Hill, who voted at the Carman Tillelli Community Center, said he liked Menendez when the senator was first elected but was put off by the corruption allegations.

“If you don’t have your moral compass set when you get there, it’s easy to get carried away by corruption,” he said. “I think that’s what happened to him.”

State Sen. Michael Testa (R., Cumberland) was among those who would welcome Menendez’s presence in the race.

Testa, who was attending an evening event in Cape May, said: “I think he could be a real key to the Democratic machine.”

Several voting problems were reported

As the polls closed, voting seemed to go off without any major problems, except for a machine problem in Burlington County.

A Burlington County spokesman acknowledged that voting was slower for some people as a result of the novel machines and attributed it to a lack of familiarity. The novel machines replaced equipment that had been in apply for 25 years, David Levinsky said.

He added that election officials “expect the situation to improve in future elections as voters and election workers become more accustomed to new technologies and procedures.”

Authors Katie Bernard, Jesse Bunch and Robert Moran contributed to this article.

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