It’s a really, really long list, but the dumbest thing the Democrats have done this cycle is allow Menendez to run for re-election. https://t.co/zIFvuLymv9
— Bradford Pearson (@BradfordPearson) October 1, 2018
We touched on this in the roundup this morning, but the Menendez-Hugin Senate race is essentially a dead heat going into the stretch run. This wasn’t the news New Jersey Democrats wanted. And, increasingly, New Jersey is popping up as an “out” for Republicans trying to stem the Democratic Wave this fall. That’s going to bring even more scrutiny to the embattled Senator.
Many didn’t think Democrats had a chance to win back the Senate because there were so many seats to defend in Trump states, and so few opportunity to pickup seats. But slowly, those opinions are being revised as a narrow path to a Senate majority emerges.
Amidst the good news is a sticky wicket: New Jersey. It’s almost inconceivable that a Democrat could lose deep-blue New Jersey in the midst of a wave election for Democrats. And maybe the plethora of critical competitive house races will buoy Democratic turnout and this won’t be a disaster. But a New Jersey loss for Democrats — almost unthinkable when the cycle began — provides an out for Republicans as other races turn sour.
Simply put, a Mendendez loss would be catastrophic. It would erase almost all paths to a Democratic Senate majority. If and when attention turns to the November elections and the Senate, the cleared path for Menendez is going to receive more and more scrutiny. Menendez is going to have to defend his actions. And Democrats are going to have to defend the process that led to Menendez’s straight-forward nomination.