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As I’ve hinted earlier, since I’m a New Jersey resident and the Garden State has two big elections this year (Senate and gubernatorial), I have decided to do a weekly recap of New Jersey news. I’ve been sticking with the contested Democratic primary to fulfill the seat vacated by the death of longtime Sen. Frank Lautenberg as it offers the most intrigue.
Even though this week was slightly barren of news, we do have some things to keep you updated on regarding the candidates. Let’s take a look at what the candidates have been doing.
Booker continues to play a fairly safe campaign. He has extensively toured the state appearing at local farm fairs (in my home county) and doing small runs with some prospective voters which is kind of neat to me. Booker has maintained his high profile Twitter account but has largely shied away from speaking in-depth about a bevy of issues and hasn’t really acknowledged his opponents.
Really it does look like Booker’s race to lose as we creep closer to the primary but he has been doing a very safe campaign and considering the legislative accomplishments of two of his opponents, its a good choice by him. Booker’s personality and charisma have really defined the race thus far.
I’ll give credit where credit is due though. Even though he has the most resources on him, there are plenty of people in South Jersey who feel ignored by the political establishment. Booker making appearances down here is good for him and good for the area as we don’t see our candidates enough.
Booker though seems to be running into some trouble as his field organization, which is more expansive than the other candidates, have issued frustrations with his Senate campaign.
Holt’s campaign, endorsed by me, has been quixotic and intensely grassroots to say the least. But nonetheless, he has been doing exactly what he should be doing in rallying the progressives across the internet. He’s had easily the best web ads of all the candidates and recently did an “Ask Me Anything” with the popular social media website Reddit. Holt’s focus appears to be trying to spark a fire with the diehards who are more likely to vote in a primary and I have to say, he’s done well. He probably could’ve used a few more weeks though.
Holt has also gotten into a war of words with Republican frontrunner Steve Lonegan over the topic of climate change. Lonegan called Holt’s ad talking about the potential of millions dying form climate change as “silly hysteria”.
Sheila Oliver is now finally starting to enter the race and seems to be hellbent on attacking Booker. I guess someone had to do it and Oliver does have a captivating profile as the Senate is barren of African American women. Still Oliver’s really late run at things ruins her chances but I wouldn’t be shocked if she makes a small dent in the race as she is the only woman running on the Democratic side.
Cory Booker has released three ads since entering the race and has largely been by himself on the airwaves. That is no longer the case as Rep. Frank Pallone has finally released his first ad of the primary season. Pallone’s ad is mostly biographical with a narrator talking about Pallone’s achievements in Congress as well as his own life. The ad itself is nice and all but the intermixing between the narrator and constituents talking to Pallone is kind of distracting.
Pallone also received more backing from the Lautenberg family though I’m unsure how much of a difference that’s going to make.
Monmouth Polling: Booker-49%, Pallone-12%, Holt-8%, Oliver-3%
That Monmouth poll is from about a week and a half ago but it does offer some insight. Booker has stayed at or around 50% since polling began and hasn’t budged much. The real battle continues to be who wants second place though Pallone has finally cracked above 10% which shows that he has at least some movement.
Recently a candidate forum took place with Cory Booker and Steve Lonegan not in attendance. Booker not attending the event could be perceived in a number of different lights though he was likely at a campaign event. Still, voters got to see Holt, Oliver, Pallone and Republican Alieta Eck.
Pulse of the Race
Booker is maintaining his lead in the race and is obviously playing it safe by avoiding the other candidates and waiting for the two debates which will take place in the last week of the campaign. Booker is the frontrunner thanks to his high name recognition but considering his ties to Wall Street and his “fiscal conservative, socially progressive” credentials; there is room to run against him.
Holt probably would benefit from going on the air but he is running a campaign that needs to go viral. He’s making all the right moves as he is running as the progressive of the race and given New Jersey’s blue hue; its not a losing strategy. The one guarantee that I would give Holt is that the people who say they will vote for him, WILL stick with him through and through.
Oliver can benefit the other candidates by slamming Booker more and more but it only matters if she goes on the air as opposed to going to Democratic forums. I wonder if EMILY’s List would look into her candidacy.
Pallone is the only candidate that can spend money close to Booker and he’s NOW starting to do just that. I expect him to have another ad before the primary occurs but he’s really got to place himself as something other than a D.C. insider which might not be a winning strategy.
Countdown To The Primary