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