TRENTON, N.J. – As expected, there was no suspense in New Jersey's presidential primary races Tuesday as U.S. Sen. John Kerry (search) easily defeated his Democratic challengers.
Kerry won with more than 90 percent of the statewide vote. Dennis Kucinich (search) was a distant second with 5 percent, Lyndon LaRouche followed with 2 percent and George H. Ballard III had 1 percent.
President Bush (search) was unopposed for the state's Republican nomination.
While New Jersey is considered a heavily Democratic state, a November victory in the Garden State for Kerry is not certain, however.
A Quinnipiac University poll done in May indicated that Kerry and Bush were in a tight race in New Jersey, with those polled choosing Kerry 46 percent to Bush's 43 percent.
Among independent voters, Kerry and Bush are about even in the race for New Jersey's 15 electoral votes. Kerry's favorability is poor in the Garden State, the poll found. Twenty-seven percent approved of Kerry, 28 percent didn't and 33 percent were mixed, according to the poll.
State Republicans are positively gleeful at the thought of Bush capturing New Jersey.
"We certainly think the president has more than a chance at winning here," said Brian Nelson, the executive director of the New Jersey Republican State Committee. "We've seen a number of polls, both independent and internal polls, that show this is essentially a horse race in New Jersey right now."
Nelson said it's difficult to discern why Bush is running much better this time than in 2000, but believed that New Jerseyans think the president has done a good job on the war on terrorism.
Democrats aren't convinced.
"We are very confident that John Kerry will win New Jersey and win it big," said Adam Green, spokesman for the New Jersey Democratic State Committee.
Green pointed out that polls done by the Quinnipiac since last June indicate Kerry's support has increased while Bush's has gone downhill.
"The big trend here is that the more New Jersey voters pay attention to the issues that matter to their lives, the more they will support Kerry," Green said.