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Andrews Unfazed by N.J. 'Power Structure'

In the days since Rep. Rob Andrews announced that he would challenge Sen. Frank Lautenberg in New Jersey's Democratic Senate primary, the party establishment in the Garden State has done everything it can to make clear that the congressman should rethink that decision.

"An Andrews candidacy will no doubt drain resources from a strong general election campaign against a Republican nominee who will be a vote for more of the disastrous policies of the last seven years," Andrews's fellow New Jersey House members wrote in a joint statement released on Tuesday. "Congressman Andrews pointlessly staying in this race is exactly what the Republicans desperately need and doubtless want."

Then in announcing a D.C. fundraiser via e-mail, Lautenberg chief of staff Dan Katz wrote, "Senators [Harry] Reid and [Chuck] Schumer will be co-hosting the event, as will all of the real Democrats in the NJ Congressional delegation: Reps. [Frank] Pallone, [Donald] Payne, [Bill] Pascrell, [Steve] Rothman, [Rush] Holt and [Albio] Sires." (The emphasis is The Fix's, not Katz's). The fundraiser, which Katz touts in the e-mail as the main D.C. event for Lautenberg in the primary, will be held April 30 at the Frederick Douglass Museum on Capitol Hill.

Despite the resentments of his colleagues and many within the political establishment in the state, Andrews insisted in an interview with The Fix yesterday that he will remain in the race and go on to win it because of just the sort of high-handed tactics being used against him.

"It's evidence of how well we're doing," Andrews said of the criticism from his colleagues. "The New Jersey power structure doesn't take well to actual elections."

As for allegations that he was trying to keep open the option of running for his House seat by installing his wife as the replacement candidate, Andrews offered a seemingly conclusive statement about his political future. "I am committed to the Senate race," he said. "Win or lose, I am not going to run for the House."

Andrews also sought to draw a parallel between the task he faces and the challenge that was before Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) at the start of the presidential race. Both men, Andrews said, ran despite a massive amount of institutional support for their opponents. The insinuation is obvious; if Obama can defeat the vaunted Clinton machine, then Andrews can overcome the machine politics of New Jersey.

Still, history doesn't suggest Andrews has much of a chance, as very few senators have lost in party primaries over the last five decades. (A full list of senators who lost party primaries over the last fifty years is available after the jump -- major kudos to Post researcher Alice Crites for gathering the names.)

The most recent example is in 2006 when Connecticut's Joe Lieberman lost the Democratic primary to Ned Lamont -- largely due to the incumbent's outspoken support for the war in Iraq. Despite the loss, Lieberman ran as an independent for reelection in the fall and won handily. (Lieberman caucuses with Senate Democrats.)

Four year earlier, New Hampshire's Bob Smith lost to then Rep. John Sununu in the Republican primary. Again, however, external factors played a huge role as Smith had left the GOP in a very public way in the summer of 1999 and run for president as an independent. Although Smith returned to the Republican fold to claim the chairmanship of the Environment and Public Works Committee following Sen. John Chafee's (R) death that fall, the damage was done and Sununu cruised to an eight-point win.

Aside from those two races, only two other Senate incumbents have been defeated in primary races since 1980 -- Kansas's Sheila Frahm (R) in 1996 (she was appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat after he resigned to run full-time for the White House) and Illinois's Alan Dixon (D) in 1992.

Andrews remains unbowed. "All of the conventional rules have been turned on their heads," he maintained. In 55 days, we'll know if he's right.

Senators Defeated in Party Primaries since 1970

* Joe Liebeman (D-Ct.) defeated by Ned Lamont (2006)
* Bob Smith (R-N.H.) defeated by John Sununu (2002)
* Sheila Frahm (R-Kans.) defeated by Sam Brownback (1996)
* Alan Dixon (D-Ill.) defeated by Carol Moseley Braun (1992)
* Donald Stewart (D-Ala.) defeated by Jim Folsom Jr. (1980)
* Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) defeated by Clark Grueining (1980)
* Dick Stone (D-Fla.) defeated by Bill Gunter (1980)
* Jacob Javits (R-N.Y.) defeated by Al D'Amato (1980)
* Maryon Allen (D-Ala.) defeated by Donald Stewart (1978)
* Paul Hatfield (D-Mont.) defeated by Max Baucus (1978)
* Clifford Case (R-N.J.) defeated by Jeffrey Bell (1978)
* J.W. Fulbright (D-Ark.) defeated by Dale Bumpers (1974)
* Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio) defeated by John Glenn (1974)
* David Gambrell (D-Ga.) defeated by Sam Nunn (1972)
* Everett Jordan (D-N.C.) defeated by Nick Galifianakis (1972)
* Ralph Yarborough (D-Texas) defeated by Lloyd Bentsen (1970)

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 9, 2008; 2:39 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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RE: * Joe Liebeman (D-Ct.) defeated by Ned Lamont (2006)

AND YET: Obama -- the so-called anti-war candidate, ACTIVELY praised, supported, endorsed, campaigned and raised money for the warhawk pro-military industrial complex profiteer & pro-zionist ANTI-DEMOCRATIC candidate who has NOW endorsed the REPUBLICAN WAR-HAWK JOHN FLIP-FLOP MCCAIN.

Obama went AGAINST the actions of the democratic voters (kinda like Florida & Michigan) -- how fascist and two-faced is that?

Obama is as much an opportunist as there ever was. AND A BIG FAT FRACKING ELITIST PANDERING HYPOCRITE.


Posted by: OBAMA supported LIEBERMAN! | April 12, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

RE: * Joe Liebeman (D-Ct.) defeated by Ned Lamont (2006)

AND YET: Obama -- the so-called anti-war candidate, went on to support, endorse, campaign for the warhawk pro-military industrial complex profiteer & pro-zionist ANTI-DEMOCRATIC candidate who has NOW endorsed the REPUBLICAN WAR-HAWK JOHN FLIP-FLOP MCCAIN.

Obama is as much an opportunist as there ever was. AND A BIG FAT FRAKING ELITIST PANDERING HYPOCRITE.


Posted by: OBAMA supported LIEBERMAN! | April 12, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

I just do not get it! Is the truth so offensive?

Hillary not only 'mispoke' (in my book, she lied) about sniper fire, she made a mockery (laughed loudly) when the Media asked about Bill's fee of $800,000 for speeches he made to support the Columbian trade agreement that she supposedly opposed but benefited from financially, she also went on late night TV and trivalized her sniper lies.

The media was silent.

Obama's statements were true and showed that he cares and understands the issues that are reeking havoc in peoples' lives in rural America. Yet the media is bashing him by printing/playing over and over and over the parts of his speech in California. Be fair minded and print the speech in its entirety.

Are there any journalistic ethical standards or guiding principles?
Is lack of integrity so deeply entrenched in our psyche? Or is perhaps not Obama words that are really problematic?


Posted by: Anonymous | April 12, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

This is what will come about Hillary if she is nominated it is on the internet and gaining momentum


Obama does not have these types of skeletons following him around - this is what you have to look forward to if she manages to steal the election - so get ready.

Posted by: lettie1 | April 12, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Finally over 17 years of teaching from his mentor Rev Jeremial Wright start to come out in Obama's speeches, full of anger,agitation, and hostility except with a lower voice. If this man becomes our president,watch out! God knows what will happen to us. Obama is like a volcano ready to errupt, he will do much worse things than Bush from the utra-left! It is not too late to have Hillary to be our nominee to save us.

Posted by: johnycheng | April 12, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

There are two ways to win in NJ, the machine or a gigantic amount of personal wealth. Note the GOP's desperate attempts to find a multimillionnaire to run. Lautenberg and Corzine both started as very wealthy candidates who were well-versed on the issues, and now wnjoy machine support because they are winners and they match most NJers on key issues.

I've seen Sen Lautenberg and he seems to know exactly what he's talking about and have a spine as well. I don't know why Andrews is doing this since he's sure to lose.

The real dissapointment here is due to machine politics Which is that the only "serious" candidate for Andrews' congress seat is HIS WIFE. There are some smart South Jersey pols who could win this seat but clearly South Jersey boss Norcross told them not to run.

Posted by: st paul sage | April 10, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

As a New Jersey native and a Democrat, no, Lautenberg is not especially popular, but neither is Andrews. Andrews is more conservative. I remember meeting Lautenberg nearly a decade ago and he seemed slightly out-of-it then and I'm sure he hasn't improved. He shouldn't run again, but I'd rather have him than Andrews or a Republican, and I think most Jersey voters feel the same way.

New Jersey has a very high tolerance for machine politics, and both are tied to the machine but do not seem corrupt compared to Bob Torricelli, for example. There are a few people who seem more independent; my representative, Rush Holt, for one.

Posted by: Matt | April 10, 2008 4:38 AM | Report abuse

Andrews might be too moderate/conservative for New Jersey Democrats, who are fairly progressive. For example, Andrews joined Republican colleagues in supporting a fence along the Mexican border; backed legislation pushed by banks and credit card companies making it more difficult for people to erase their debts through bankruptcy; supported a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning; and voted for the estate tax repeal.

Lautenberg took the opposite stance on each of those measures.

Andrews not only supported the Iraq invasion but was an author and vocal advocate of the war resolution, and attended the White House signing ceremony. In 2003, he said there was little doubt that there were chemical and biological weapons in Iraq, and predicted that the "evidence will become clear."

The only advantage for Andrews is Lautenberg's age and weak approval ratings.

Old guys like Robert Byrd and Strom Thurmond get re-elected because they are beloved and untouchable in their respective states.

Lautenberg has no such reservoir of good will. His low approval ratings might be due in part to the general unpopularity of Democrats and Gov. Corzine in New Jersey. Voters might look at this contest and conclude that they don't want to give Lautenberg another term, especially because he would be 90 years old at the conclusion of his next term.

Posted by: harlemboy | April 9, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

MARKinA: I see a couple Posts I don't think was from you. Ah! Well!! the lyleGENIUSpink is one I want to memorialize as the best compliment I've had on this Blog.

Posted by: lylepink | April 9, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

I've never understood Lautenberg's appeal -- I wish someone would explain it to me -- but there's no denying he's very popular in NJ. I can't see how this guy is going to be successful.

Posted by: gbooksdc | April 9, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

I am sorely tempted to ask some NJ native who has been active in D politics which one is "less" crooked. NJ seems so much like LA without bayous, Cajuns, or charm.

I know this is a prejudice of the worst order. After all, Bill Bradley seemed like a straight shooter. But from what CC has written about NJ, it seems squalid.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | April 9, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

It's not an endorsement, but Elizabeth Edwards is far happier with Clinton's healthcare plan than she is with Obama's. "You need that universality in order to get the cost savings," Edwards told ABC's Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America" Wednesday. "I just have more confidence in Sen. Clinton's policy than Sen. Obama's on this particular issue."

And more encouragement for Camp Clinton: "I don't actually think it's a bad idea to have an open convention, where we actually got to hash out what the differences [between the candidates] were and how important they are," Edwards said.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 9, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Why is this on The Fix? This isn't Clinton campaign spin!

Posted by: bondjedi | April 9, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

that comment on real democrats is amazing. Keep it strong Lautenberg!

Posted by: sarah | April 9, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Last anon to Blarg was me. CC - get that sign in thing working again!!!

Posted by: Dave! | April 9, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Blarg - "Does anyone know why Andrews is running against Lautenberg?"

Don't know. Maybe it's simply because he thinks he can do a better job? Maybe he thinks Lautenberg is too liberal? Andrews is supposed to be more centrist from what I hear.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 9, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Naw, Andrews is too conservative for NJ.

Posted by: drindl | April 9, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Andrew's might have had a chance IF he had gotten in a while back, but at this stage of the game it is a fools errand.

I would bet that he is using this as a way to make a push for Governor or Senate Next time around.

Posted by: Andy R | April 9, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know why Andrews is running against Lautenberg? Generally this kind of primary challenge is ideological; is Lautenberg considered too moderate? Is this like Lamont's challenge in 2006, or is it just Andrews trying for publicity/power?

Posted by: Blarg | April 9, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

When the United States invaded Iraq five years ago, the enemy was Saddam Hussein and his Baathists. When Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ryan C. Crocker, respectively the U.S. commander and the ambassador to Iraq, came to testify to Congress last year, the enemy was al-Qaeda in Iraq. Yesterday, Petraeus and Crocker returned to Congress to report that the enemy had changed once again.

We are now ALLEGEDLY fighting Iran-backed "special groups" in Iraq.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 9, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

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