Cook Political Report Says Three GOP Congresscritters At Risk

The Cook Report, a highly respected subscription only political report, did some studying after the recent government shutdown and has determined that there are a good number of Republican House members who are at risk, and that the Democrats may actually have a shot.

And three of those Congresscritters are from New Jersey.

Cook put together five categories that put an incumbent at risk.  (Sorry, no link since it’s paywalled.)They are:

  1. Sits in a district with a Cook PVI score of R+5 or more Democratic.
  2. Sits in a districts with a Cook PVI score of R+2 or more Democratic.
  3. Received 55 percent of the vote or less in the 2012 election.
  4. Held less than $500,000 in cash on hand at the end of September 2013.
  5. Had a Democratic opponent with more than $100,000 in cash on hand at the end of September 2013.

Turns out Rep. Jon Runyan hits four of these, with a PVI of R+1 (that’s categories 1 and 2), less than 55 percent of the vote in 2012, and just $300K or so cash on hand.  If we had a declared Democrat with $100K on hand we’d have the quinfecta.

Reps. Frank LoBiondo and Scott Garrett are a little less appealing.  LoBiondo gets two risk factors (1 and 2) solely because he’s in a D+1 district, but none of the categories match up.  Garrett gets two risk factors because he’s in an R+3 district and “only” got 55 percent of the vote in 2012.  I don’t find LoBiondo persuasive, and Garrett doesn’t really belong on the list since he got 55.03 percent of the vote in 2012.

Runyan is the top target, I think, for Democrats next year and with a really good candidate (read: always out in public or dialing for dollars) and campaign team (read: media and fundraising) that seat is a definite pickup.

At the same time, we need to go after LoBiondo and Garrett as well if for no other reason than to ensure GOP money has to go there to defend them and doesn’t get spent elsewhere.  With a great candidate and team we could win one of those (and in NJ-7 with Lance if he’s portrayed as betraying his “moderate” roots) in a wave election, but NJ’s Democrats have proved particularly weak at doing so.

Any thoughts from the peanut out there?

Comments (15)

  1. Rex Banner

    People in the District have started to realize what he is all about–which he was able to keep below the radar until the past couple of years.

    The Powers That Be in the fifth need to take this race seriously — with a solid candidate and deep pockets (or fundraising ability) to really go after him hard.

    It is a tough but winnable district against an extremist like him–even moreso after his recent votes and temper tantrum on the debt ceiling and shutdown  

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  2. 12mileseastofTrenton

    Garrett could be beaten with a strong, well-financed candidate.  But none got in the race last time, and it looks like none will get in this time.  Runyan could be beaten, but it would be tough.  The 3rd was made more Republican and no major names are stepping up.

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  3. Erik Preuss

    Could be winnable depending on a couple factors:

    1) Lance gets primaried again and loses. He’s faced a Tea Party challenger in each of the last two elections and last time that challenger received 40% of the vote. With him now having voted to increase the debt ceiling and end the shutdown, he could potentially be in danger. IF he were to lose a primary, NJ7 would almost certainly be in play.

    2) The Democratic candidate can try and tie Lance to the GOP establishment. Either try to force him to ally himself with the crazies, or denounce them and (hopefully) lose some support.

    The first scenario is much more plausible, though neither is likely. It’s a god damn shame he managed to get into congress in the first place.

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  4. Joebluejersey11

    2014 will be the year Garrett is defeated. Look for Sen. Majority Leader Weinberg to endorse long time Teaneck Community Activist Jason P. Castle for his second run for U.S. Congress. He is the ultra-Progressive that Bergen, Warren, Sussex need and want. While Roy Cho may be a great candidate, he may not be Progressive enough for the District. Look also for the very popular Englewood Mayor R. Frank Huttle to throw his name in the ring also. The Huttle name is a proven vote getter.  Other well established candidates will be freshly minted State Sen. Jan Bidwell and also Assemblyman Gordon Johnson. Dark horses will include Bergen Freeholder Chairman James Carroll, Sheriff James Mordega, or Teaneck Council Leader Adam Gussien and Demarest Councilman Greg Pastur

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  5. Liberals_4_Lonegan

    …should run strong candidates in every Republican district, because after Lonegan’s better than expected performance and the shutdown fiasco, the TPM is going to be out for blood next year and every incumbent Republican in NJ except Scott Garrett (who might be targeted by an ambitious, quasi-moderate Republican from Bergen County like David Russo) is going to be targeted and unlike past years, they might have a strong candidate at the top of the ballot who could give them a chance at some viability come June 2014.

    If Assemblyman Nelson Albano survives this year’s election, he should seriously consider a congressional run next year, because instead of running against Frank LoBiondo, he could find himself running against Seth Goldberg, the guy who ran against Christie this year and while he did not put up much of a fight against Christie, he could give LoBo a run for his money.

    Troy Singleton would be a perfect candidate to run in CD3 whether it is against Jon Runyan or an opponent even more conservative than him.  I would like to believe that his Assemblymate, Herb Conaway, will be the heir to Diane Allen’s Senate seat if/when she retires, so Singleton could be waiting a long time for a better chance to move up than this.

    If both Albano and Singleton were able to become congressmen in 2014 and were able to hold the seat until redistricting, it is very likely that all three South Jersey districts would be redrawn so that CD1 is somewhat less Democratic than it already is so that CDs 2 and 3 could become more Democratic.

    Linda Greenstein is not going anywhere anytime soon and even if she did, Assemblyman Dan Benson’s Assemblymate, Wayne DeAngelo, probably has a leg up on him, so he needs to realize that the time has come for him to take on Chris Smith in a battle for the heart and soul of Hamilton Township and CD4.  Hopefully for Dan’s sake, he would wind up facing someone from the TPM instead of Smith, but that is the kind of roll of the dice that Democrats need to be playing in 2014.

    If Joe Legana becomes an Assemblyman this year, it is highly unlikely that he will turn around and run for Congress next year, but the nonstop radio ads featuring him will have given him the kind of name recognition that no other Democratic candidate in this district has ever had.  It couldn’t hurt to ask.  If the unthinkable happens and the Republicans take control of the Senate, I think that Democrats should try to make some sweet-tasting lemonade out of those bitter lemons and draft Loretta Weinberg to run against Garrett, Russo, or whomever wins that hard-fought primary next June.

    The third time could be the charm for David Larsen in CD7.  Democrats should be prepared for that possibility by running Assemblyman Joe Cryan there.  It would be great to see Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll take on Rodney Frelinghuysen in CD11.  If that were to happen, I would love to see Essex County Freeholder Brendan Gill or Passaic County Freeholder John Bartlett be waiting for him if he wins.  That could be the most fun general election of them all to watch.

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