Chatting With The Fix
I chatted online earlier today but couldn't get to all the questions that readers submitted. Here are answers to a few questions leftover from the chat:
Lyndhurst, N.J.: Chris... Enjoy the chats and The Fix.
What about Menendez as Corzine's replacement? He seems good, but also sleazy. Even the NYT didn't like the pick. Who would have been a better pick? Can Menendez keep the seat and beat Kean, Jr.?
Cillizza: In case you missed it, Corzine officially named Menendez as his pick less than an hour ago. (Click here for the Web cast of the announcement.) Now that Representative Menendez is Senator Menendez, expect some stories in the coming weeks looking more closely at his record in the House and his connections in Hudson County.
While Menendez may not have been the "outside the box" pick, let's not forget he is an historical pick: the first Latino Senator to represent New Jersey. And Menendez has something that none of the other potential appointees has -- $4.1 million sitting in his House account, which will provide a financial jumpstart to his bid for a full term in 2006.
Menendez can certainly keep the seat if he can weather two things -- the possibility of a serious primary challenge and the oncoming crush of press scrutiny. The next few months will be crucial.
St. Louis, Mo.: In the Missouri race, why is Claire McCaskill doing so well in the polls? Are the president and governor dragging Jim Talent's numbers down?
Cillizza: McCaskill is a well-known commodity to state voters having just run a near-miss gubernatorial race against now Gov. Matt Blunt (R). And, with Blunt off to a rough start in his first term, McCaskill seems to be benefiting from some buyer's remorse among Missouri voters. As a first-term senator, Talent isn't terribly well-defined in the minds of voters and as a result national Republican struggles can impact him more forcefully than a more entrenched incumbent. Nonetheless, Talent is a tough out. He is savvy and will raise the dollars he needs. The political environment will determine who wins this contest.
East Lansing, Mich.: How do you feel about Senator Stabenow's security in Michigan? The state economically has been in decline, and the gubernatorial race will get many people out to the polls. However, the Republicans have been unable to find a strong candidate, at least that I've seen. Any possibility of a rep taking the Republican nomination?
Cillizza: Stabenow faces two problems in 2006: the woeful state economy and her status as a freshman senator. Combine the two and you understand why Republicans are optimistic about their chances of making a run at Stabenow. The re-entry of Oakland County sheriff Mike Bouchard (R) into the race is a boon for Republicans since he comes from the right part of the state to cut into the Democratic base. But, Stabenow is savvy and knows how to run close campaigns. And, Republicans are more focused right now on unseating Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D), which might ultimately distract them from knocking off Stabenow.
London, U.K.: Chris, any chance you'll give me a job? I love your work. CV (resume as I think you call it) available on request.
Cillizza: Um, no. This is my dream job and I'm not giving it up -- ever.
December 9, 2005; 3:37 PM ET
Categories: Fix Notes
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