As the 2018 race for our US Senator continues through time the number of contenders initially decreases, then increases, and then only one is left standing. Let’s make sure it’s a Democrat.
The race began with six contenders
With a requirement for 1,000 valid registered Republican signed petitions, Antonio Sabas (R) submitted only 1,090 signed petitions, and after a challenge the judge invalidated enough to knock him out of the running. Dana Wefer (R) submitted only 1,026 signed petitions. Her petitions were also challenged and a news outlet reported she too was removed from the race, but as of this morning she is still listed by NJ Division of Elections as a candidate. To submit such few petitions was not very smart of them, but it is a common mistake for newcomers. They should have provided a cushion of at least 500 to 1,000 more signatures to be on the safe side. Any petition becomes invalid if the person who signs it is not a registered voter for the appropriate party. Other reasons could include a signature that looks different from how it appears on the registration rolls, omitting a middle initial or entering a slightly incorrect address.
Now there are five contenders
Robert Menendez (D), incumbent, submitted 11,286 petitions and Bob Hugin submitted 3,643. Lisa McCormick (D) submitted 1,547, Brian Goldberg (R) submitted 1,476, and Dana Wefer (R) 1,029. Only Menendez and Hugin have their party line and the large amount of money needed to run a state-wide campaign.
A March 13 Quinnipiac poll indicates Menendez holds a 17 point lead (49 to 32) over Bob Hugin and that voters approve 46 to 39 the job he is doing. Nonetheless, discontent toward Menendez’s tawdry activities with the convicted Dr. Melgen could lead some Dems to vote for the other Democratic candidate McCormick, but many or most vote the party line. McCormick, a community newspaper publisher, waited until the last day to submit her candidacy. She announced a 2017 campaign for governor but did not run. She supports “Medicare for all,” whereas, Menendez does not go that far. He has the support of all key state Democratic leaders, and the odds highly favor him.
In the same above poll, 83 percent don’t know enough to form an opinion of Hugin. He has ties to former Governor Christie and could lose votes to the other Republicans. He retired recently as Executive Chairman of Celgene, and his firm paid $280 million to settle a lawsuit that charged it committed fraud by re-purposing a leprosy drug for unapproved cancer treatments and that it filed false claims with Medicare. Goldberg a West Orange businessman unsuccessfully sought his party’s Senate nomination in 2014. He reported only $150 in his FEC report for the end of 2017. Dana Wefer, Hoboken Housing Authority Chairwoman, was a progressive Democratic firebrand, but she says the party left her so she is running as a Republican and to the left of Hugin. Once again Hugin’s money and party support is most likely to render him the winner.
After June 5 there will be two contenders for the General Election
As suggested above it’s extremely likely that they will be Menendez (left) and Hugin (right).
By June 14 the number of candidates will increase
While the Primary is only to elect the GOP and Democratic candidate, the General election allows those who submit 800 qualified signed petitions to enter the fray. June 14 is the deadline for determination of petition challenge for these other candidates. In the last NJ senatorial General Election in 2014, won by Cory Booker, there were seven qualified candidates. Three listed themselves as D-R Party, Libertarian, or Economic Growth; two as Independent; plus, the Republican and Democrat. However, since 1853 all NJ US senators have been either a Democrat or a Republican. Never say never, but as of now there is not the slightest hint that anyone except a GOP or Democratic candidate will triumph.
After November 6 only one is left standing
As the NY Times points out, “For Democrats to take control of the chamber, they must keep all of their seats and win two of the Republican seats in play. It is numerically possible, but there is little room for error.” The Cook Report indicates that of now with 26 Dems in the race, 14 are “Solid,” 5 are “Likely,” 2 are “Lean” and 5 are ‘Toss Ups.” Such adds to the urgency of electing Menendez over Hugin. The same report lists the NJ race as “Likely Democrat,” as does 275 To Win, favoring Menendez. We are a heavily Blue state, with many Republicans disillusioned, and with Dems energized to get out and vote, particularly for their Representative. Most commentary suggests Menendez will be the winner, but there remain seven months and a lot can happen in that time.
SOURCE: NJ Division of Elections