Roll Call published a Casualty List today for the 113th Congress, those members who for various reasons won’t be returning to Congress in January. They did some math and figure that’s 1,254 years of experience total that won’t be back. That’s a lot of incumbency, and the circumstances of the New Jersey four speak to how hard it is to overcome the campaign advantages of that incumbency, which include the powerful trappings of a federal seat, general goodwill towards local representatives (even where Congress itself is disparaged), and the freebie franking privilege which so many members of Congress use to send self-congratulatory mail that walks and talks like campaign lit but the taxpayers get the bill.
Of the NJ four leaving office, none were beaten by upstart challengers, to the eternal frustrations especially of those who rallied behind NJ-5’s Roy Cho (against the should-be vulnerable pre-Tea Party winger Scott Garrett) and NJ-3’s Aimee Belgard (whose fortunes rose then fell in the open seat Tom MacArthur bought for himself). All four new members – Sen. Cory Booker, Rep. Don Norcross and incoming House members Bonnie Watson Coleman and Tom MacArthur – take seats that were vacated by retirement, resignation or death.