Garrett, Lance, Frelinghuysen All Underwater

promoted by Rosi

MoveOn has been polling a lot of districts early for Congress, and this is a good thing for recruitment.  Too often our potentially strong NJ candidates for House seats bail out because no one believes we can win, and that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as our rich donors give to other states and our highly talented operatives head off to other districts. So we’re left with underfunded second tier candidates with little or no talent on their campaigns.

But with these polls coming it’s possible that funders and talent will see potential in New Jersey to pick up a seat or three, and to be an “early adopter” for the funders and a wnner-against-the-odds for our talent.  And here’s some info that gets us there: Three new polls show Republican House members under water (PDF).

Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ11) is six points negative approval with 35 percent approving and 41 percent disapproving.  In a head-to-head against a generic Democrat, Frelinghuysen loses 42-47.  When the pollster told the respondents Frelinghuysen voted to shut down the government the generic head-to-head falls to 42-50.  The magic 50 percent for an unnamed opponent.

Scott Garrett (R-NJ5) is in worse trouble.  His approval is better than Frelinghuysen’s at 39 percent, but his unfavorables are a whopping 46 percent.  His generic head to head is a losing 44 – 49 and when you add in his votes to support the GOP brinksmanship he gets to 45-50.  Again the magic 50.

But Leonard Lance (R-NJ7) is the most surprising, and the most vulnerable of the three.  He’s a full 10 points underwater at 32 favorable and 42 unfavorable, though some of the poor positives could be that he’s still largely unknown.  That’s born out by his initial head-to-head tie at 43 for himself and 43 for a generic Democrat.  Tack on the recent kerfluffle over the debt ceiling and continuing resolution and he’s down 40-48. Not to 50, but getting there.

This shows that with $15 million dollars and some skilled campaigns we could take three seats in New Jersey.  Tack on the wholly unqualified Jon Runyan and there’s a real chance to make some serious headway in New Jersey.

But only if we work at it.  Remember, county parties are where we keep looking for support but that makes no sense.  County parties are about county and local offices, not Congress.  Having a member of Congress doesn’t bring any jobs, doesn’t help raise money, doesn’t really do accrue any credit to the local party.

So it’s up to us.  If we want these seats we need to start now.  Encourage good candidates, recruit volunteers to start working, start letter writing campaigns and public activism now, and be ready to work hard and raise money once we have candidates.

Or we can sit on our hands, wait for the “powers that be” to step up, and keep our 6-6 House delegation.

Which do you want?

Comments (16)

  1. Liberals_4_Lonegan

    I know that we are all proud of being card-carrying Democrats, but as long as there are no competitive Democratic congressional primary elections in Republican districts, we should be willing to register as Republicans and vote in Republican primary elections.

    I expect that every incumbent Republican congressman will face a primary challenge in 2014 and with the exception of Scott Garrett, who is more likely to be challenged by someone out of the Bergen County Republican establishment, most of these primary challengers will come from the TPM.

    As much as we might prefer it if the Republicans in Washington were dominated by reasonable moderates, there can be no doubt that they are a dying breed and helpless to change the ideological trajectory of their political party.  The sooner that we accept this and recognize the fact that we have a better chance of winning in November if we help TPM candidates defeat incumbents in June, the sooner we can start taking some of these seats.

    Registering Republican does not prevent us from voting Democratic in November and it enables us to take on incumbent Republican congressmen on two fronts.  Who knows?  Maybe if we can prove our ability to help the TPM win Republican primary elections, a day will come when members of the TPM will be willing to return the favor when we are trying to defeat an entrenched incumbent Democrat in a primary election.

  2. kalimirch

    Frelinghuysen is an extremely popular incumbent, while Scott Garrett is simply not that popular.  It makes no sense that they would both be 5 points underwater, especially considering Rodney won by nearly 20 points last year (in a district Romney carried by 5).

    What would be nice is if we could get Rutgers and Monmouth to poll these districts, because as much as I like these numbers, they make absolutely no sense considering the districts involved.

  3. Stephen Yellin

    I found it extremely interesting that the former Mayor of Summit, Jordan Glatt published this letter on a e-paper site for my region:

    For those unfamiliar with Summit, it’s a traditionally Republican town in western Union County that, demographically and politically, has trended our way. There are now more Democrats than Republicans there, and Obama won the city twice (the latter by .4% – still a remarkable achievement). Summit and Westfield (home of Tom Kean Jr., Jon Bramnick and Bill Pallatucci, among others) are the 2 big towns in the Union County portion of NJ-7, which Lance won by 9% last year.

    Glatt became the city’s first Democratic  Mayor in 80 years when he won in 2003. He’s personally popular in a town where local Republicans keep winning on that level (including Glatt’s seat after he retired). He won reelection with 60%, even as Republicans won every other contested race on the ballot.  He’s a sharp campaigner with a great business background – in short, the ideal candidate to run for Lance’s seat.

    So, why did I find Glatt’s letter intriguing? Because it’s quite similar content-wise to the one written by Bill Hughes, Jr. in LoBiondo’s district – the same Hughes who’s publicly stated his interest in running.

    I would love to see Jordan run against Lance – if there’s anyone who could make Lance sweat, or capitalize if he lost renomination to Larsen next year, it would be Glatt.  

  4. 12mileseastofTrenton

    is when he’s swimming.  Or if he takes a bath.

    The poll is ridiculous.  Even in the worst of Republican years, it will be hard for a Democrat to break 40% agaibst him in that district.

  5. kalimirch

    I don’t know much about the local politics of CD2, but it’s time to have a real candidate here.  Jeff Van Drew or Jim Whelan would be ideal, but that just isn’t happening.  Lorenzo Langford, from what I’ve heard, has been lacking as AC Mayor, so probably isn’t a great choice.  Perhaps Assemblyman Nelson Albano could give this one a real shot?

    CD3 is frustrating, since we did have a good candidate here last year and still came up way short.  Runyan should be an easy target.  I think I read somewhere that Troy Singleton is the best option here, and I concur.

    CD5 is another one that should be pretty easy with a good candidate, but I don’t think Roy Cho or Jason Castle are the right people here.  Castle has shown an inability to raise money, while Cho is a bit green for such a challenge (they both are, really).  It would be nice if Rothman would just run here again.

    CD7 and CD11 are probably out of reach, but we should have good candidates there anyway.  Chivukula’s disappointing performance last year makes me pretty pessimistic towards 7.  And while Dunec seems to be the best fundraiser ever against Rodney, I just can’t see 11 being competitive.


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