Let’s pretend this is the News Roundup. Better yet, make it an Open Thread …
The picture below is cold reality, but I am not going to waste my time mourning. New Jersey battled back. Good candidates fell all over the country Tuesday. In New Jersey, we held on by our teeth.
The big loss was John Adler, in a series of self-inflicted wounds. We knew months ago when Adler tried to play both sides on health care reform, that he’d sacrificed his base. We knew when Jane Roh’s Courier Post account of the mechanics of Peter DeStefano’s sham Tea Party candidacy that the Adler campaign had been pulled down the rabbit hole by the Camden County Democratic Committee. We can’t be stung by that loss anymore, we grieved it a long time ago. But what fresh hell Jon Runyan will be, we’ll leave to the light of day, or at least until tonight’s Glenlivet wears off.
We held on to two key House progressives in the NJ delegation that we might have lost (Pallone in NJ-6 and Holt in NJ-12). These were the real nail-biters of the night. Anna Little was New Jersey’s only Tea Party candidate running a viable challenger race. With Frank Pallone’s win, she is not the only loser. The Tea Party itself is delegitimized in NJ, juiceless unless they regroup and figure out how to appeal to the citizenry without promising to ruin the environment, erase government and create false enemies to be terrified of. Twelve years ago, the last time the congressional races topped the ticket, Rush Holt won, an unlikely candidate without the flash and sizzle of most smooth-talkers, he was wonky and earnest. This year, the congressional topping the ticket again, science teacher Ed Potosnak ran in adjacent NJ-7, wonky and earnest. He lost – it was always an uphill race. But like Holt (who also lost his first time out), Potosnak should run again. Potosnak never dumbed down his progressivism.
Chris Christie did not have a good night. And that’s damn gratifying. GOP candidates Little, Scott Sipprelle, and Tom Goodwin caved. GOP candidate Felix Garcia lost the Passaic Sheriff’s race. I’ll leave Bergen County to the Bergen scholars on this blog but it’s worth noting that Christie would have a hard time claiming GOP’s Kathe Donovan’s win as County Executive for himself, given that Bergen Grassroots DFA crossed the aisle to back her, too. The state’s most heavily-watched legislative special election – overshadowed by Adler drama – was Tom Goodwin’s attempt to hold his thin incumbency (appointed in March, to Bill Baroni’s vacant seat) against Linda Greenstein. This was a referendum on Christie’s short months in office, and it didn’t break his way. LD-14 has both conservatives and a band of resentful public workers. From the beginning, Goodwin hitched his star to Christie; Greenstein was the alternative, the promise of a stronger Democratic Senate. Let her help bring that now.
For the record, there will either not be a News Roundup in the morning, or it will come late. Late. Like a lot of you, I’ve been up for 24 hours; like more of you, I’m soaked in scotch.