The political landscape in New Jersey is ripe for a historic shift this November. But a shift in New Jersey’s representation in Washington is not likely to happen because the New Jersey Republican Party is wholly unprepared for the opportunity. The nincompoops who lead the NJGOP gave up on the U.S. Senate race in January. They gave up on picking up seats in the Congressional Delegation in 2012 when the new congressional map was drawn.
According to a Fairleigh Dickinson Univeristy Public Mind Poll released this morning, President Barack Obama’s approval rating among New Jersey registered voters is a dismal 36%. 49%, including 21% of Democrats and 45% of Independents, disapprove of the President’s job performance. Senator Cory Booker is 8 points below the magic number of 50% that an incumbent needs to be comfortable in a reelection race. Those are the kind of numbers any opposition party/candidate would pray for 8 weeks before an election.
Photo courtesy of Geraldo.com. Used with permission
Had the late Senator Frank Lautenberg lived to complete his term, Geraldo Rivera might have been the Republican nominee to be New Jersey’s junior member of the United States Senate. Cory Booker would still be mayor of Newark and the two celebrities would have been engaged now in an expensive high profile race with national implications.
In early 2013, Rivera was very publicly exploring the possibility of running for Launtenberg’s seat. Booker had just declined to challenge Governor Chris Christie’s reelection bid and announced that he would run for Lautenberg’s seat. Booker’s announcement came before the ailing Lautenberg’s announcement that he would not seek another term.
Lautenberg’s June 2013 death and Christie’s call for an October Special Election to fill the seat scuttled the plans of the television and radio personality/journalist to enter politics on a national level. He was not able to rearrange his life or gain support of his family in the short time required to compete in an August GOP primary.
What might have been a high profile exciting battle between Rivera and Booker this fall is now reduced to bragging rights as to which man will raise more money for his respective Party in Monmouth County. Monmouth County Republican Chairman Shaun Golden will announce this afternoon that Rivera is the keynote speaker at the GOP Fundraising Gala on October 15 at the Navesink Country Club. Rivera’s office and Golden both confirmed that Geraldo is coming.
Domenic DiPiero, founder and president of Newport Capital Group bought the paper from Mickey Gooch, founder and president of GFI Group under terms that have not been disclosed.
DiPiero is a lifelong Two Rivers area resident, according to an announcement of the paper’s sale posted on it’s website on Monday.
“I look forward to continuing the great tradition that The Two River Times has built. I want the newspaper to continue to be a source of pride and news in the community,” DiPiero said, according to the TRT announcement.
Gooch, and his now ex-wife Diane, bought the paper from Geraldo Rivera in 2004.
It’s not that Booker is invincible, as was widely thought prior to the Special Senate Election last October. He is beatable. Steve Lonegan exposed the fallacies of the Booker myth and Patrick Murray documented that Booker’s support is shallow. Had Washington Republicans not followed Senator Ted Cruz’s lead to shut down the government in October and had State Comptroller Matt Boxer released his audit of Newark’s City Government which exposed millions of wasted taxpayer money and management practices that encourage fraud in September instead of this week, Lonegan might have pulled off the upset that Booker deserved.
There’s nothing wrong with 4 of the 5 Republicans reported to be looking to challenge Booker. Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, Senator Minority Leader Tom Kean JR, Senator Mike Doherty or Assemblyman Jay Webber would all serve New Jersey well in the U.S. Senate.
That Darryl Isherwood included Assemblyman Chris Brown is his list of 5 Republican of potential candidates to challenge Booker is more of a reflection of Isherwood’s sense of humor than it is of Brown’s viability as a candidate for any office in the future. After blaming his Assembly running mate John Amodeo’s 39 vote loss on Governor Christie, Brown will be lottery winner lucky if he is even re-nominated for his Assembly seat in 2015. “What will Brown do after politics?” MMM asked a senior Republican strategist after the gaffe. “We’ll find out soon,” the strategist said with a laugh.
(Correction: As a commenter pointed out, Isherwood was referring to a different Assemblyman Chris Brown (the LD 8 Brown) than the one who blamed Christie for his running mate’s loss. My mistake makes my overall point. MMM readers are more informed than the average voter. How many knew there was even one Chris Brown in the Assembly prior to the LD 2 Brown’s gaffe? There isn’t a member of the legislature with the statewide name ID to compete with Booker~ Art)
U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg missed work, on doctors orders, for the entire month of March. On Friday he released a statement saying he will not return to Washington on Monday as the Senate convenes after a two week recess, according to reports in The Star Ledger and Politico.
“I regret that I will not be returning to Washington next week as I continue treatment for, and recuperate from, muscle weakness and fatigue. My physician continues to advise me to work from home and not travel at this time,” Lautenberg said in a statement issued by his office.
Lautenberg added: “I am disappointed I will not be present for the opening of the debate on gun legislation in the Senate. It is an issue I am deeply passionate about, and my victories over the gun lobby are among my proudest accomplishments. I am, however, gratified that my legislation to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines will be one of the key amendments offered to this bill.”
Lautenberg will also miss the confirmation of U.S. Magistrate Patty Shwartz to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, a nomination that was initially blocked by New Jersey’s junior senator, Bob Menendez.
“I have worked hard since Judge Shwartz’s nomination by President Obama toward her confirmation, and I am confident that she will be confirmed by a strong majority of my colleagues,” Lautenberg said.
Lautenberg, 89, announced in February that he would not seek reelection in 2014.
Should the senate seat become vacant on or before August 27, New Jersey’s election law requires that a successor be elected in the November general election. If a vacancy occurs after August 27, the next election for the seat would be on schedule in November of 2014, unless the governor calls for a special election sooner. Governor Christie could appoint a temporary senator or leave the seat vacant.
The hopes of Middlesex and Monmouth County mayors, freeholders and legislators hoping to move to Washington in early 2015 as the newly elected representive of the 6th Congressional district were set back a bit this morning by a new FDU Public Mind Poll that shows Newark Mayor Cory Booker dominating the Democratic field to replace Senator Frank Lautenberg.
Congressman Frank Pallone has been considered Booker’s main competition for the 2014 Democratic U.S. Senate nomination among the media and political establishment. However, 12th District Congressman Rush Holt has almost twice the support among self identified Democrats than Pallone does, according the FDU survey.
FDU surveyed its respondents cable news viewing habits, polling the trustworthiness of CNN, FoxNews and MSNBC. Given Holt’s surprising showing, they should have surveyed how many of their respondents are Jeopardy fans. Holt is famous for being a five time Jeopardy winner and beating IBM’s supercomputer, “Watson,” on the TV trivia game show.
Booker leads the Democratic U.S. Senate field with 50% support. Pallone got only 4% and Holt 7%. 32% of the respondents are unsure and are probably Wheel of Fortune fans.
Frank Pallone aged 30 years
Unless Booker becomes incapacitated running into fire, shoveling snow, or leaping a tall building in a single bound, Pallone is likely to remain in the House of Representatives until he’s Launtenberg’s age.
Monmouth Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal, Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik, former Edison Mayor Jun Choi and Carteret Mayor Dan Reiman best hopes for becoming a congressman is if Gerald Rivera manages to beat Booker next year in the general election and then Pallone beating Rivera in 2020. But that is not much of a hope, as FDU says Booker will beat Geraldo 52%-21%.
“I am not announcing the end of anything. I am announcing the beginning of a two-year mission to pass new gun safety laws, protect children from toxic chemicals and create more opportunities for working families in New Jersey,” Lautenberg told The Star-Ledger. “While I may not be seeking re-election, there is plenty of work to do before the end of this term and I’m going to keep fighting as hard as ever for the people of New Jersey in the U.S. Senate.”
Lautenberg will be 91 when his term expires. Recent independent poll have indicated that New Jersey voters favor Newark Mayor Cory Booker heading to the Senate.
Congressman Frank Pallone is said to be ready to challenge Booker for the Democratic nomination in 2014. State Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver have also indicated interest in the Democratic nomination.
Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik said he will not be a candidate.
TV and radio personality Geraldo Rivera is the only Republican who has publically expressed an interest in competing for the Senate seat. State Senators Tom Kean, JR, and Joe Kyrillos have been mentioned as possible candidates, as has Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, Lt. Governor Kim Guadango, and bio-tech executive/Navy Intelligence Officer John Crowley. New Jersey has not had a Republican in the U.S. Senate since 1974.
In a statement issued to the media, Governor Chris Christie said, “Frank Lautenberg and I have had our differences through the years, but I’ve always respected him for his tenacity, devotion to the people of New Jersey and his love for and commitment to public service. I will always be grateful for his doggedness in fighting with me and the delegation to ensure congressional passage of an aid package after Hurricane Sandy that is delivering necessary assistance to our residents. I wish him the best in his retirement.”
Surprisingly, 2010 congressional candidate Scott Sipprelle was leading the poll by a wide margin before we took it down this morning. Sipprelle had 39% if the votes, followed by State Senator Joe Kyrillos with 19%. Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno and Congressman Chris Smith each had 12%. Here are the results of the original poll.
We’ve added former Highlands Mayor Anna Little’s name to the mix because we had a couple of complaints that she was excluded.
A lot will happen between now and the November 2014 election. But let’s just say the stars align and my colleagues at Fox News and Cumulus Media let me run as a Republican for the United States senate seat from New Jersey, my home since 1989.
A year and a half from now, my probable opponent would be either the admirable five term incumbent 89-year old Senator Frank Lautenberg or the charismatic Newark mayor 43-year old Cory Booker, fine men and formidable candidates in a state where almost 60 percent of the people identify as Democrats.
Despite its popularity in the Garden State, their party is the problem. I endorsed the economic platform of Romney/Ryan in 2012 because Democrats were denying the deficit and decrying necessary changes in federal entitlements. Unfettered, theirs is a recipe for generational catastrophe. To pretend the government can just print money is untenable and irresponsible.
But I voted for Obama/Biden because the fiscal threat posed by the Democrats seemed less immediate then the GOP’s intrusion into the private space of abortion, as well as Republicans’ opposition to both the inevitability of immigration reform and the rights of gay people to get married. Those things I believe, so how am I a Republican?
Geraldo Rivera was on Fox and Friends this morning sounding very much like a candidate for U.S. Senate.
He said that he’s a voice for “a point of view that is unrepresented in states like New Jersey,” fiscal conservatives who are pro-immigration reform, pro-gay rights, pro- gay marriage and pro-choice within limits.
He said he would ride his Harley throughout the Garden State to campaign against Senator Frank Lautenberg or Newark Mayor Cory Booker in the 2014 U.S. Senate Race.