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Well this is it. This is set to be our last update in our coverage of the New Jersey Senate race, at least before the Democratic and Republican primaries that are set to take place on August 13th. We will at least do something next week that will look at the numbers, what they mean and all of that jazz but right now; this is it.
We had some troubles with WordPress last week so I apologize for not getting an update on this race (or the site in general) last weekend.
But let’s take a look at the candidates and what they’ve been doing.
Booker is probably going to win this. I say probably because you never know what low turnout could do in a special election. Booker has released a new ad, another one that mixes between color and black and white (why does he do this anyway?) and has unveiled a campaign bus (for real) that will tour the state encouraging people to vote for the popular Newark Mayor.
Booker has largely been doing a victory lap over the past month but has had a lot of support including that from Martin O’Malley, a potential 2016 candidate and the Governor of Maryland. O’Malley is a bit more progressive than Booker, yes, but its a smart move considering O’Malley clearly wants to make a national run and allying himself with a big name like Cory Booker is a good help for him.
Booker has faced a bit more criticism in the closing days for his Internet start-up company “Waywire” which hired a 15-year old son of CNN head honcho Jeff Zucker. Andrew Zucker left Waywire but Booker has faced a bit of criticism that is probably unique to him. Booker has very close ties to Wall Street and Silicon Valley but will it make a dent into his popularity? Unlikely.
Still Booker has done a solid job in this campaign and one that might help him nationally. He didn’t face “token” opposition and its probably best for his electoral future to have to deal with louder criticism from rivals. I have no intentions on voting for him in this primary but I can in the general and if your candidate doesn’t win, I hope you consider it as well. Is he perfect? Certainly not, will he probably be a “New Democrat” on some? Yes. But there will be some issues in which he definitely shines on, including hopefully raising the minimum wage.
I’m rooting hard for Rush Holt, will cast my one vote for him and I hope you at least give the man a chance or another look. Holt has made some movement in the last week as he has released his new ad which touts his progressive credentials and dings Booker for his lack thereof. Its a pretty genial ad, it is far from nasty, but its the closest thing we had to an attack ad in this fairly polite primary.
Holt has made a bit of a name for himself as being the candidate for the left and has received endorsements from Glenn Greenwald, former Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Civil Rights leader Edith Savage-Jennings. His bid has been largely grassroots and quixotic but he’s done about as good of a job that could be expected given his lower name recognition and less money.
If I could make one critique, I wish he really tried to push the grassroots more. If I were in charge of his campaign, I would’ve tried to appeal for money at the DailyKos and other like-minded blogs. There could’ve some more money raised and created a bit more buzz amongst the progressive netroots.
Still, Holt ran a solid campaign and deserves his reputation as a tough campaigner.
Sheila Oliver could’ve ran a great campaign, and I’m nearly certain of it. While she didn’t have the support of the Democratic machine that essentially got her elected as Speaker of the General Assembly in New Jersey; she could’ve made more inroads. She could’ve been a historical candidate as there has only been one African-American woman in the U.S. Senate (Carol Moseley-Braun in the 90s) and she does have a pretty good title.
But instead, she really hasn’t done much. She raised a paltry amount of cash and really didn’t make any noise until the middle of campaign when she started making a name for herself. It was all too late though.
There are whispers that Oliver might not run for another term as Speaker which really makes you wonder, why did she do this?
If there was one candidate that could’ve likely went toe-to-toe with Cory Booker, it was Rep. Frank Pallone. Pallone is a pretty skilled legislator, was sitting on a couple million and represented the Jersey Shore. He had some solid progressive credentials and had been bandied about as a Senate candidate since 2002.
Pallone has been the only candidate who had multiple TV ads this primary which really hammered his middle-class roots and the fact that he drove a Chevy not a limo. He often touted his role in passing the Affordable Care Act and his efforts to preserve Social Security, something that Booker has received some mild criticism over.
But Pallone really should’ve been on TV a lot earlier than mid-to-later July as he would’ve been able to maybe crack the mid-20s and possibly gained some late race momentum.
To his credit though, Pallone via Josh Lautenberg (one of the sons of Frank) has started to rev up attacks against Booker; but it all reeks of too little, too late.
Quinnipiac: Booker-54%, Pallone-17%, Holt-15%, Oliver-5%
This is the best performance by the field against Booker (individually) but Booker has been hovering around 50% all campaign long. Pallone and Holt may or may not be fracturing the vote against each other but if you put both of them together; you get a far more credible candidate and one that would be more likely to get closer.
For what it’s worth Booker trounces likely GOP nominee Steve Lonegan by a 54 to 29% margin.
The Democrats had two debates (with the full field) and really the major story was that Booker received attacks from both Holt and Pallone who essentially tag-teamed the Mayor. Booker got hit pretty hard for a bevy of reasons including his work as Mayor of Newark (and his time away from the city), his vague generalities about “unifying”, his ties with Waywire, and other charges to which Booker responded with talk of Holt and Pallone being part of the Washington problem.
It was fairly interesting and probably again, too little too late. Booker has kept mostly quiet on the issues (his campaign website offers more specifics) and instead talking about “changing” Washington. His label as a “Wall Street Democrat” will be impossible for him to mostly shake off and the Waywire deal isn’t going to help his cause. Holt and Pallone really have little chance at toppling Booker but they had to go on offensive eventually.
The problem is the only people that tend to watch the debates are party diehards, and it probably won’t make much of a difference. By now, I assume there are very few undecided voters.
Pulse of the Race
For Cory Booker to win, all he has to do is not get caught in a scandal and he’s probably punching his ticket to Washington.
Rush Holt has to root for a beautiful day and very low turnout. I feel his diehards are on par with Booker’s and Holt’s are most likely to vote for their man no matter what.
Sheila Oliver should root for a time machine.
Frank Pallone’s best bet is that people want the Washington guy in office and turnout is low too. Theoretically, he’ll likely be “closest” to Booker for what its worth.
Alright, I’ll give it a go.
- Booker – 49%
- Pallone – 24%
- Holt – 22%
- Oliver – 5%
These are based off of nothing.
Days Until The Primary