Uh Oh: NJ Senate Race Catching Eyes for the Wrong Reasons

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.

Comments (5)

  1. NJBlech

    Danley: “Simply put, a Mendendez loss would be catastrophic.” And a Menendez victory would embolden another corrupt NJ politician and further solidify NJ’s reputation as the country’s capital of corruption. A Menendez victory will remind me of what happened to George Norcross in the early 2000s. He was on the ropes legally, so much so he visited a high-ranking official in the Attorney General’s Office and requested that the investigation into allegations of political corruption in South Jersey be dropped, Norcross saying “I’m not a thief. I’m not a crook. I can sleep at night.” Then US Attorney for NJ Chris Christie (he would later gain fame through Bridgegate) and NJ Attorney General David Samson (also of Bridgegate fame) did indeed let Norcross off the hook and they created a monster who acts as though he is invincible. Re-electing Menendez will create another monster who will likely feel invincible. It will also send a message that corruption in NJ has no consequences. I won’t be voting for Hugin, but I also won’t be helping carry Menendez’ corrupt carcass over the finish line by voting for him.

    1. Stephen Danley (Post author)

      I hear you. In this case, I plan to suck it up and vote for Menendez — I’m just not willing to risk more Trump control in this case — while working to make the Democratic Party in NJ one I can be proud of. But I hear folks that are making other decisions for other reasons.

  2. Gary Frazier

    Join the Green wave. The sooner we all wake up the sooner we can fix NJ and Our Country..We not coming back and the democratic Party had look very hard at the Progressive Movement in NJ and across this country. The Republicans are indeed a problem but an even bigger Progressive Ideology that actually is speaking to their Non Progressive Platform and that’s the Green Party. Foolish of them to wage a war monger against an anti war expert and environmentalist in Madelyn Hoffman.
    Just remember every top down election

    1. Stephen Danley (Post author)

      I’m not convinced there is a viable path to positive influence by Greens. I like the Working Family model a bit better — one that builds progressive infrastructure to challenge Dems from the inside. But certainly willing to contemplate voting Green if they’ve built enough infrastructure to play a serious governing role instead of a spoiler role.

    2. Rosi Efthim

      The Green candidate isn’t even filed with the FEC. There are neither people resources nor financial resources even to tell people statewide who she is, or that she’s running.


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