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Whelan, Polistina Race Down to Wire in Atlantic County [AUDIO]

The race for a state Senate seat in Atlantic County is coming down to the wire.

Democratic incumbent Senator Jim Whelan is fighting for re-election against Republican challenger Assemblyman Vince Polistina.

Many people will be watching this race throughout the state because there is a lot at stake on Election Day.

Fairleigh Dickinson University political scientist Peter Woolley says that particular Senate seat is one of the most powerful in the entire Senate. “The senator from this district includes Atlantic City and that means that the senator can from his own senatorial courtesy block a lot of gubenatorial appointments, so this senator has a great deal of sway in Trenton in the executive offices.”

A senator from Atlantic County can block all appointments to the Casino Control Commission, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and the South Jersey Transportation Authority.

“Whoever wins this seat really has a lot of power and influence” said Woolley. “If Whelan keeps his seat it won’t throw off Governor Christie’s reform agenda all that much, but if Polistina gets in, it will make all that much easier for him to get things done.”

The race is also the most expensive in the entire state, with over $3 million in fundraising reported.

“There is a lot of money being spent here for one senate seat and the dust hasn’t even settled yet” said Woolley.

It’s also a very negative campaign with ads circulating on tv and radio. “There is big money to be spent here and so what can you say about the negative ads, they have really become a part of elections in America these days.”

While he can’t predict a winner, Woolley says the one who will ultimately get the seat will have to do a good job at mobilizing his own party base. “The person who comes out on top will really have gotten the word out and gotten his base to the polls on Tuesday.”

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