Shifting Sands - 7 New Jersey Senate Seat in Play

Friday, November 18, 2005
One of the more arduous and expensive tasks for a young politician running for statewide office for the first time is gaining name recognition. The task is made orders of magnitude easier if your name just happens to be one recognizable due to your father having been governor. Thomas R. Kean Jr. has announced that he will run for the Senate seat being vacated after John Corzine successfully purchased the New Jersey governorship. Corzine beat Doug Forrester 53/43 so Kean has an uphill battle. Moving 5-6% of the electorate over to the Republican column would be next to impossible for an unknown.

Kean's entry just made the Democrat's lack of money even more troublesome. Corzine spent $63.5 of his own to purchase his Senate seat four years ago. The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee has $19 million on hand at the moment and will probably be fortunate to have $50 million to spend in total for the cycle. The loss of union soft money contributions will hit New Jersey particularly hard because of its heavy unionization.

I do not rate Kean's probability of success in this first go around at higher than 45% but he is going to make many valuable contacts during this campaign and Lautenbergs seat will be up in '08. It is very unlikely that Lautenberg will run in '08 because of age and because serving in the minority suits him even less than it does Corzine. In the '06 run Keating's opponent will be a one year incumbent appointed by Corzine as soon as he takes office. Given the history of New Jersey politics, there is a reasonable chance that Kean's opponent in '06 and/or '08 will come under investigation or be indicted sometime during the campaign.

Kerry only beat Bush by 7% in New Jersey in '04. If Kean's opponent doesn't have good statewide name recognition and the DSCC doesn't have enough dough, this could be a very interesting race.

** Thanks to Jedrury for catching an error.

31 comments:

David Thomson said...

The Democratic Party is now, for all practical purposes, an enemy of Western Civilization.
They are not to be trusted with the lives of our loved ones. The Republicans may often leave something to be desired, but the Democratic agenda is now dominated by the Daily Kos and Moveon.org. Their senatorial candidate in New Jersey will likely to be soft on defense issues.

markg8 said...

I live In NJ. I think we'll just have to wait to see who Corzine puts in his old seat. A number of congressmen, Menendez, Andrews are preening, I hear Holt would like the job but hasn't publicly campaigned for it like these guys. Codey the acting gov., is very popular and may get the nod but I hear he's more interested in going back to his job as head of the Assembly.

Don't know much about Keating other than his name. I'm not much impressed by his dad, does good but so far not particularly effective work getting the admin to take the reforms the 9/11 commission recommended seriously.

Repubs won't get away with the same intimidation tactics Keating Sr.'s campaignd was convicted of using in 1981 this time. Back then he won by 1500 votes over Florio by suppressing the vote in Newark.

Buddy Larsen said...

Well, while we're airing recent local dirty laundry, lets not forget the Toricelli/Lautenberg handoff which--tho SCOTUS declined to hear it--was expressly forbidden by state law, but went ahead anyway, apparently on the strength of a thitherto unknown legal principle now popularly known as "Fuggitaboudit".

markg8 said...

I never did read the NJ SC ruling on that. But nevertheless when it became clear Torricelli was a crook what did NJ Dems do?

Did they deny, deny, deny? Did they smear anyone who dared point to his corruption? Try to dig up dirt on them or cloud the issue by saying everybody does it? Claim it was an ongoing investigation that they couldn't comment on?

No. They dumped him like a hot rock.
And to show just how much they thought of the guy they nominated his biggest political enemy in the state.

Buddy Larsen said...

You're right--they did such an excellent job of making a virtue of neccessity that the whole issue of legality became 'technical' and 'controversial' and pretty much legless, as the well-known campaign-winner stepped up and took the situation in hand.

Personalities and PR successes aside, tho, no one can say that the precedent set isn't a step backward in political evolution.

Buddy Larsen said...

Where did all this current bad behavior come from, after all, other than a couple decades of rationalizing that the other side did something like whatever it is, "first"?

Eric Blair said...

You have to understand, buddy, NJ is a deeply corrupt state. markg8 might whine about 'suppressing' the vote in Newark, but when thousands of dead people are still voting (Democratic, that is), in the state, its pretty much a moot point.

The only reason Torricelli got dumped was because it wasn't possible to put any sort of face on it. Unlike say, coming up with Lautenberg at the last minute, and managing through the machine to get him elected, despite it all being against the law. But that doesn't matter a great deal in NJ. As you can see.

Rick Ballard said...

Eric,

You're right about the lower Dem turnout that comes from denying the dead their God given right to effective represntation. I forgot that one. It's probaly only worth a quarter to a half a percent but in a tight race it could make the difference.

We know that Reps can win statewide races in New Jersey. Whitman is the last prominent example of that. Even if Keating loses he's going to bleed the Dems wrt money unless Corzine finds another moneybags candidate who wants to spend $60 mil to be able to cast meaningless votes.

markg8 said...

Doesn't it strike anybody as the least little bit odd that a partisan Repub decided to bring up the ghost voter issue only in the last week of the election? If this was more than a cheap stunt then why not bring it up last month or 6 months ago when there might actually be time to scrub the rolls and time for some enterprising reporter at one of the few major newspapers in the state to endorse Doug Forrestor to expose this supposed widespread vote fraud in past elections.

OTH Keating's campaign was convicted and given a slap on the wrist for suppressing the vote in minority communities back in 1981.

Buddy Larsen said...

Well, it's pretty clear that the garden state grows enough albatross for EVERYbody's neck.

Knucklehead said...

Rick,

One can never count on NJ behaving according to any logic. It is a solid Dem machine state for the most part, so never wager on a Republican winning any statewide position.

Geography (or, probably more accurately, location) and demography combine to put it in a category all it's own. Defiantly "independent" yet hopelessly influenced by NYC and Philadelphia. The most densely populated state with a goodly number of folks rural enough make an Appalachian hillbilly seem urbane. Some of the wealthiest and poorest neighborhoods in the entire nation and most within spittin' distance of one another.

Every ethnicity one can imagine and with a small effort one could have a chat with a representative of most
of 'em by no later than noon on a typical day. And for some odd reason even the Canada geese don't wanna leave.

If Missouri is the "Show Me" state, NJ is the "I seen dat, what else ya got?" state. The current leader for the next motto, however, is "Nice ta meetcha, tanks fuh cummin. You don' havta go home but you can't stay heah." Some prefer the brucified version which is, "Make a right at the light, keep on straight until night."

Buddy Larsen said...

Knuck, there's a motel billboard--facing east on the westbound side of I10 a half-hour or so from New Mexico, that says "The Sun Has RIZ, And the Sun Has SET, and You Ain't Out of Texas YET!"

Rick Ballard said...

Knuck,

I won't be calling New Jersey until after the lawsuits after the election. Keating running is a great move though, buying ad time in Philly and NYC is rather expensive and watching Dem fund levels drop is a hobby that I find very entertaining.

Corzine might find another rich fool but paying $60 mil to cast useless votes is someting for which even he didn't care.

Buddy Larsen said...

Think maybe those "Make Him Spend it ALL" bumper-stickers may've stung a little?

markg8 said...

Keating or whoever does decide to run is going to have to distance himself much further away from Bush than Forrestor did. Forrestor blames the loss on Bush's loss of popularity.

Knucklehead said...

You didn't expect Forrester to blame it on himself or his campaign, did you.

markg8 said...

Of course not. Republiclans never take responsibility for anything they get wrong.

Buddy Larsen said...

Mark, that last sentence would look really cool in crayon. With little floral designs around the border, hanging on the bulletin board in Miss Smith's 4th grade classroom.

markg8 said...

You're right buddy. It's never to early to teach the young ones life's basic truths.

Get back to me when Bush declassifies the dead sure evidence about WMD he used to send us to war in Iraq.

Peter UK said...

Buddy
"Get back to me when Bush declassifies the dead sure evidence about WMD he used to send us to war in Iraq."

Now you can be sure what the Democratic talking point is,our resident parrot is an infallble source.

markg8 said...

Petey if you're going to lead a democracy to war, especially a war that most real experts said would require a mammoth nation building project, you have to sell that war to
your countrymen honestly. Bush hasn't done that any step of the way.

terrye said...

Didn't something like 48,000 snowbirds from NJ vote in Florida also?

mark:

When Clinton gives the evidence to Bush I guess he can tell the rest of us all about it.

After all Bill not only said the stuff was definitely there he guranteed us Saddam would use them.

This is what makes Democrats such a joke.

Think Bush's numbers are bad? Last I heard the Democrats are polling at 25% approval and 70% disaproval.

woo hoo!

The Republicans should never have impeached Clinton, it only made the Democrats nuttier than they already were.

Peter UK said...

"most real experts said would require a mammoth nation building project"

There are no "real experts" on this,nation building hasn't been done since 1945.Even Murtha isn't old enough.

markg8 said...

terrye I can't take you seriously when you say stuff like this:

"Last I heard the Democrats are polling at 25% approval and 70% disaproval."

Go read.
http://www.pollingreport.com/

markg8 said...

Petey once again Bush's own State Dept. spent the fall and winter of 2002-2003 putting together just such a group and detailed plans. The neocons scotched all that a week before the invasion. Drunk on power they blew off Colin Powell's experts and sealed this adventures'd doom.

Peter UK said...

They might have done,but the State Dept doesn't know either.The plan was probably binned because like all bureaucratic endeavours it was so gold plated and so complex it wouldn't fly.

Buddy Larsen said...

OIF is part of an effort to change the dynamics of a lethally flawed set of power relationships that sitting atop the world's fuel tank was well on its way to firing up another BIG war.

To crawl around in the aftermath of huge, exigent actions looking for anything and everything that can't be proven to've been 100% optimal,in order to misrepresent them as conspiracies to do in the nation in favor of haliburton or somesuch, is small, obvious, pathetic, unworthy of your party's history, and a shitty way to say 'thanks', Mark.

Buddy Larsen said...

And the party which built, maintains, and fiercely protects a huge civil-service structure that year-in-and-year-out returns less than half the work product per dollar as the private sector, has little standing to preach efficiency to an emergency operation with a shooting enemy, such as OIF.

Buddy Larsen said...

A giant machine that takes the citizens' dollars at virtual gunpoint and returns them as forty or fifty cents worth of services, retaining the difference to fund the unneeded half of the payroll and/or four of eight hours unworked or double-paid--that is, the Democratic party--is certain to be institutionally tolerant of less-than-perfectly-efficient spending. So, there's your proof, the outrage is ALL politics--masquerading as citizenship. Fooey.

jedrury said...

The name is Thomas Kean is not, not Keating,

Rick Ballard said...

Thanks, Jedrury, I'll correct it. Thomas Keating was McCain's love if I remember correctly. Odd the tricks the mind plays.