A few minutes ago, VP Mike Pence, who also serves as President of the U.S. Senate, swore in senators elected or re-elected in November. They were called up in groups of four by last name. Some walked down the aisle alone, some stood and took the oath standing next to their spouse. When his name was called, Bob Menendez came up to be sworn in with his brother senator Cory Booker standing just behind him. Menendez is on record supporting Booker for president
if he runs when he finally announces.
That moment seemed to underscore some facts. First, our place in the blue wave becoming official right this minute. Our little commuter state sent a whopping 4 new members to a newly Dem-majority House – Mikie Sherrill, Tom Malinowski, Andy Kim and Jeff Van Drew each with a D beside their name, though sometimes that D may stand for DINO. And more importantly, this state which was 7-5 Dems over Republicans in the House is now as of today 11-1. Sorry Chris Smith. We coming for you next.
But it also speaks – loudly – to New Jersey’s hope that this state will also be a major player in the 2020 Democratic effort to wrestle the White House away from the unstable Republican who now occupies it. And on a lesser note, it reminded me in no uncertain terms that though Menendez is senior, it is Booker who will capture more news cycles now, and Menendez the senator still under an ethics cloud, whose unexpected weakness in a primary that ‘should have been’ a walk, caused the national Dems and their donors to burn money in a state they’re not used to having to spend money to keep.
But keep it we did. As questionable as many NJ voters find Menendez, Hugin was unacceptable entirely.
There were 8 brand new senators sworn in along with re-elects like Menendez, and Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar – all likely contenders for the Democratic nomination for president. One of them was Mitt Romney of Utah, whose opening salvo – and possible testing of the waters for a 2020 challenge – was calling out President Trump on character, and on ‘not rising to the mantle of his office’.