Jim Saxton has represented the Third District of New Jersey since 1984. The unexpected retirement of this veteran Republican gives the Democrats an opportunity to take an Open Seat in the centre of the State. The National Journal notes the existence of an invisible line which crosses the district. To the north people are linked to New York City - "watch New York TV stations, eat hero sandwiches and root for the Yankees" - to the south they "watch Philadelphia TV, eat hoagies and root for the Phillies". The major industries are Retail, health care, agriculture, tourism and defence. Toms River is the largest city with 86,327 - followed by Springdale. The army base at Fort Dix and McGuire Air Force base are within the district.
Chris Myers, the Mayor of Medford, is standing for the Republican Party http://www.chrismyersforcongress.com/. The hopeful Democratic challenger is John Adler, a State Senator. http://www.adlerforcongress.com/
Another surprise retirement is that of Republican congressman Mike Ferguson. This is a slightly more Republican seat than the Third District (The Cook Partisan Voting Index gives NJ 03 a rating of D+3, wherea the Seventh District is rated R+1). The district has a very strange shape and runs from the Pennsylvania border almost to Staten Island. National Journal notes that it is "not a district with a distinct character". There are a number of wealthy, heavily Republican areas in Somerset and Hunterdon counties, but Union County - part of which is in the district is Democratic.
The two main contenders are Leonard Lance (Republican) http://www.leonardlance.com/, a State Senator whose family have served in the state legislature for three generations - and Linda Stender (Democrat) http://www.lindastenderforcongress.com/. Ms Stender was the Democratic nominee in 2006 when she cam close to unseating Mike Ferguson.
Links to New Jersey newspapers can be found at http://www.metrojersey.com/newspapers.htm