Quinnipiac has a new poll out today that places Tom Kean in a very good position for this early in the campaign. Although Menendez holds a large lead in cash on hand he has spent a considerable amount to date with little to show for it. Kean is nursing a much smaller campaign fund and has managed to garner a lead with independents while spending one-sixth of what Menendez has spent.
This is a decently weighted poll of registered voters which gives a very good idea of the actual state of play at the moment. New Jersey is an extraordinarily expensive state because media buys must be made both in the NYC market and in the Philly market. That's why it cost Corzine $60 mil to purchase the seat that he then abandoned when he realized that he was never going to be in the majority party.
Does Kean have a real chance of unseating the appointed incumbent? That actually depends upon the pace of the continuing suburbanization of New Jersey, the amount of money that he can raise and the Dems faltering ability to raise the dead on election day - in that order. New Jersey splits 52/46 so Kean needs to move 4% from the D to the R column. A nice political scandal this summer (of which there is never a shortage in New Jersey) plus the probable fall out from the NSA leak investigation may do the trick. Voters in New Jersey are a bit more sensitive to the terrorist threat than voters in Wisconsin.
This race, Maryland and the open seat race in Minnesota are the most interesting contests at this point.
UPDATE: Last month's Fec reports showed Dean's magnificent fundraising for the DNC having resulted in a net $6.9 million Cash On Hand for the year to date. This month Mehlman managed to increase the RNC's COH by only $6.9 million to $40.8 million.
The DNC hasn't filed this months report as yet. I wonder why?
DNC report is now available:
DNC YTD Receipts - $11,297,501
RNC YTD Receipts - $24,796,621
DNC COH - $8,930,179
RNC COH - $40,874,828
In fairness to Dean it must be said that his fundraising is not doing as badly as his candidate recruitment.