The Cook Political Report took a look at the two Freshman members of Congress from New Jersey (Behind a firewall) and where things stand today as it looks toward their re-election in 2010. First they look at Congressman John Adler and rate his seat as likely Democratic:
It’s difficult to see how Republicans could deny Adler a second term without a dramatically better political environment. Republicans always dream of fielding popular state Sen. Diane Allen for this seat, but Adler’s bank account is a big deterrent. In the first quarter of 2009, Adler raised $461,000, the best total in his freshman class. So far, Tabernacle Committeeman Justin Murphy, who took just 25 percent in the 2008 GOP primary, is the GOP’s only announced candidate.
The 3rd CD’s location in the southern part of the state makes it an unlikely candidate for elimination in 2012 redistricting, but if Adler survives 2010, he could possibly score a safer district if its Ocean County portions are divided between the neighboring districts of GOP Reps. Frank LoBiondo and Chris Smith.
This is a significant shift as the seat had been held for decades by Republican Congressman Jim Saxton. Adler’s office has run an extensive outreach operation and been on top of many issues including Veterans concerns, which make up a significant population of the district. Adler also is benefiting from the three Republican members who supported the energy bill, essentially providing him cover from the GOP attacks:
Among the Republicans, Politico said freshman Lance held his vote until the very end.
His vote for the bill, along with those from LoBiondo and Smith, are indirectly providing a benefit to freshman Democratic Rep. John Adler of Cherry Hill.
Adler’s district borders LoBiondo’s and Smith’s, and it’s no coincidence that the National Republican Congressional Committee decided not to include Adler in the barrage of radio attack ads it put up almost immediately assailing freshman Democrats who voted for the bill.
And then they looked at the 7th district seat held by Leonard Lance, who they identify as likely Republican:
Lance pops up on many Democrats’ 2010 target lists because he stands out as one of a reduced herd of northeastern Republicans sitting in marginal districts. But politically, he is much stronger than he might appear on paper. Lance’s recent vote in favor of the controversial Waxman-Markey “cap and trade” bill is just one example of how far apart he is from the “national Republican” brand. And Democrats continue to have a very weak bench in this district, which takes in country clubs in Somerset and Hunterdon counties and closer-in suburbs in Union and Middlesex counties.
At this point, Lance’s most serious political threat may be 2012 redistricting, which will likely collapse the state’s 13 districts into 12. This district, which touches plenty of others in the middle of the state, could be drastically altered.
It’s going to be an uphill climb for Democrats to turn perception around on this district before redistricting given the recent lack of success. At this point, Lance is hearing more from Conservatives on the right than anyone else, but we’ll have to see whether that continues.
This is just a snapshot of where they think things stand as of the July 4th weekend, over one year out from re-election. What do you think of their view?