13 seats: 6R, 7D D 55
Democrats in 1998 turned a sharp rise in their projected performance in all 13 districts into gaining a majority of House seats, with Rush Holt being one of the few challengers around the nation to defeat an incumbent. They could gain an additional seat in Bob Franks' open seat race in 2000. Still, a majority of elections likely will again be lopsided. This general lack of competition is no surprise, given that the state's redistricting commission openly sought to ensure that the major parties won a roughly proportionate share of seats – doing so in a winner-take-all system is only possible by creating mostly non-competitive districts. The Democratic rise, however, has made several Republican-held districts more competitive. Seats held by Christopher Smith, James Saxton and Frank LoBiondo would be toss-ups if incumbents were to step down. The Democratic tide also helped shield Frank Pallone from a multi-millionaire dollar blitz against him in 1998. It has not translated into state races; Republicans control the governor's mansion and both houses of the legislature.