Rush, Frank, and Sheila: Alas…


According to Quinnipiac, Booker leads with 54 percent while U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone placed second with 17 percent from likely voters. U.S. Rep. Rush Holt accounted for 15 percent, ahead of N.J. Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver’s five percent.

As for the Republican primary, Steve Lonegan garnered 74 percent of the poll to Alieta Eck’s 10 percent. Thirteen percent remained undecided.

If you combine Pallone’s, Holt’s, and Oliver’s votes, you still don’t get enough to beat Booker. But you do get a credible, serious candidate who could have been a real challenger; a candidate who could have forced New Jersey’s voters (and the press) to look at Booker’s corporatists leanings and actual track record in Newark.

Alas, it was not to be. For myself: I’ve always liked Holt and will vote for him on Tuesday. But I’ve come to admire Pallone; he would have been an excellent Senator. And my respect for Oliver has grown as well – far more than I thought it would have for a woman who is a product of the North Jersey machine.

Any of them would have beaten Lonegan; any would have been a better, more progressive leader for New Jersey than Cory Booker.

What a shame we liberals are once again denied our chance to have a voice. Once Booker wins, that’s it: short of a scandal, he’s in the Senate for as long as he wants.

He’ll be good on many social issues, and I grant you that’s no small thing. He’ll make sure the Supreme Court isn’t filled with rabid, conservative activists (assuming the Dems keep a majority and/or the presidency). He won’t go beating the war drums too loudly. He’ll make some wishy-washy concessions to income inequity; he’ll take away a few outrageous corporate tax deductions and pretend he’s leveling the playing field. Whoo-hoo…

But, in the end, this was yet another wasted opportunity for the left-wing, silenced majority of the Democratic Party. If only two of the three losing challengers had opted to pull out. If only they had thrown their support behind one candidate. If only they had agreed that it was time to do whatever it took to get a proud progressive into the upper chamber as New Jersey’s junior senator.


Comments (5)

  1. ken bank

    Pallone criticizing Booker for not doing his job is like Christie calling out Barbara Buono for taking money from special interests. So where was our uberprogressive Congressman when the House of Representatives was taking a very close vote on one of the most important issues of our time, NSA surveillance of American citizens? Holt was there, where was Frank? Mowing his lawn? Taking out the garbage? Driving his son to a ball game? Whatever.

    Oliver is of no consequence and likely takes votes away from Booker. However, Holt is especially puzzling. Everybody knew, and assumed, Pallone would succeed Lautenberg until Booker got into the race. I’m no rocket scientist, and my IQ is about as large as Holt’s poll numbers, but I’ve been around NJ politics long enough to have made a naive assumption that Holt would, if anything, endorse Pallone in this race or at least stay out of it so as to unite the progressive wing of the party. The only conclusion I come to is that Holt’s ego is even bigger than his IQ, and that he must have convinced himself if he told everybody and anybody that he’s a rocket scientist with a high IQ who beat a supercomputer, people would vote for him. At least that’s been his shtick. It obviously hasn’t worked, but it’s made this race alot less competitive than it might have been if it was just Pallone v. Booker.

  2. 12mileseastofTrenton

    And it’s not just the left-wing, but moderate to liberal Democrats who do not like privatization, corporatization, and mixing church and state.

    Holt and Pallone both should have not run.  I think it was Holt who should have stood aside.  But one of them should have.

    As for Oliver, I started with zero respect and the needle hasn’t really moved.

  3. kalimirch

    We shouldn’t kid ourselves thinking they are.  That’s not to say that they couldn’t become progressive; the issue is that the “centrism” argument has been pushed down voters throats for decades now, and it’s driven the Democratic Party to the right.

    Most primary voters may be progressive, but it’s a mistake to say that lost registered Dems are.


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