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NJ-Senate: And Then There Was One

Disappointing campaign junkies everywhere, Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.) took himself out of contention for the Garden State Senate race in 2006 today, paving the way for a cleared primary field for newly appointed Sen. Bob Menendez (D).

Andrews, who has held New Jersey's 1st district seat since 1990, was considered a potential threat to Menendez due to his strong base in the southern part of the state. His decision not to seek a primary challenge and to endorse Menendez effectively ends talk of a serious primary race even though Rep. Frank Pallone (D) is still considering a bid.  A three-way race between Menendez, Andrews and Pallone would have provided intrigue and perhaps a surprise nominee but a one-on-one contest between Menendez and Pallone is a major mismatch.

In an interview minutes ago, Andrews said his no-go decision was driven by a desire not to cost Democrats their chance at the Senate majority in November. "A primary would force the [Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee] to spend resources in the fall that otherwise could be freed up to defeat Republicans across the country," Andrews said. 

As for his own political future, Andrews said his "efforts to help Bob Menendez will further position me to be a candidate for statewide office in the near future."

Menendez was appointed to the Senate by his predecessor, Gov.-elect Jon Corzine (D), after Corzine beat back a challenge from businessman Doug Forrester (R). The seat was open after scandal-plagued Jim McGreevey (D) resigned his post in August 2004 and was succeeded by state Senate President Dick Codey (D), who served as acting Governor for the remainder of McGreevey's term.

Menendez, who will be formally sworn into the Senate on Wednesday, told The Fix today that he was preparing to raise and spend $20 million on the contest against state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R). (For The Fix's complete interview with Menendez -- including how he first learned he was the choice of Gov.-elect Corzine -- make sure to check this space on Wednesday.)

Republicans see New Jersey as one of their best pickup opportunities; Democrats point to Menendez's soon-to-be incumbency as well as the Democratic nature of the state when they argue the contest won't be as close as most observers think.

If  Corzine's gubernatorial victory is a sign of things to come in New Jersey, expect this race to get very nasty, very quickly. Menendez, for the moment, is taking the high road. "If Republicans want to stay in the gutter, I'll leave them there," said Menendez Friday.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 13, 2006; 1:48 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Next: House GOP: Week 1 of the Leadership Races

Comments

Newt Gingrich has yet to learn that when a man marries his mistress he is merely creating an opening for the position.

Posted by: KAS | January 17, 2006 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I agree, Allen is not going to get a free ride in 2006. Dems would be smart to put a Northern Va centrist against Allen. They could knock him off. Not Leslie Byrnes please. And Not Ben Affleck. Not sure who the candidate should be, but Don Beyer could be a possibility.

Posted by: DB | January 17, 2006 12:51 AM | Report abuse

Damn, I *love* three ways!!!!
ah well, there is always 2008.
http://einkleinesblog.blogspot.com/

Posted by: jay lassiter | January 16, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

What we need to hear more about is Harris Miller in Virginia. Miller has guts to take on George Allen, but who knows, the Abramoff tidal wave could drag Allen back a few crucial points.

Allen also faces a "flying wedge" of governors and former governors: Kaine, Warner, Wilder, Baliles, and possibly even Holton could be mobilized to take down Allen.

Meanwhile, what of James Webb? Will he run? Will there be a Democratic primary?

The Richmond Democrat
http://richmonddemocrat.blogspot.com/

Posted by: J.C. Wilmore | January 16, 2006 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Nothing is worth less than knocking your opponents without saying how your proposals are better. When will you offer an alternative?

Posted by: unclecj | January 15, 2006 5:40 PM | Report abuse

well yeah, West Virginia spelling leaves a lot to be desired

Posted by: Jake | January 15, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse

a West Va term meaning just what you think it means. Spelling may be off. Your right, she does seem to lie with the snakes. She really is a deeply disturbed individual that needs to be sent back to the woods

Posted by: db | January 15, 2006 5:07 AM | Report abuse

Plooging?? Never heard that one before.

I don't think Coulter can sleep with anything that moves, just reptiles.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | January 13, 2006 11:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't know, Lautenberg seems to be enjoying the Senate more than ever and is making noises about running for reelection rather than retiring. And he's been great in attacking Bush and his administration. He's in his 80s, but seemingly good health, so I'm in no rush to see him leave. I'd almost guess at this point that Lautenberg is staying in the Senate for life, unless something awful debilitates but doesn't kill him.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | January 13, 2006 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Corzine is a single guy, why trash him because he has a girl friend. Unlike former House Speaker Newt Gingrich who was toiling for the religious right, calling for the impeachment of Clinton, good ole Newt was plooging one of his aides while still married to the former MS Gingrich. To this day I have not heard one Right Wing Conservative comment negatively on Newts behavior nor and the religious right taken him to task for it. Where was the infamous Pat Roberson, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly when this immoral behavior went down right under their noses. Additionally the gladfly know it all Wes Pruden of the Washington Times has never brought himself to right one negative think about Newts behavior.

Last but not least, the wonderous Fox News "fair and balanced" never once went on the offensive and brought this story to its viewers just like they have treated Limbaughs pain killer addiction, Bennetts gambling addiction with kid gloves. Yet they allow every other commentator and guest go on and on about Teddy Kennedy's behavior over 35 years ago and Bill Clinton.

My favorite is the blonde "Vegas girl in training" Ann Coulter who sleeps with anything that moves yet pushes total lies and BS in hokey books under the banner as a journalists. My favorite of hers was the complete character assignations she has done on Anita Hill and Hillary Clinton. Fox gives her repeated guest vists on their shows as if she was an expert on something. All she knows how to say is how stupid everyone is but her and her conservative views are.

A great book by David Brock outs Coulter and the conservatives for what they are: a bunch of power grabbing, propaganda pushing, hypocrits.

I dont know enough about Corzine or Menendez, but I can tell whisper campaign from the right has already begun in an attempt to take a Senate seat the good old GOP way.... character assignation. When a party is deficient on ideas and their current policies have not worked, go back to what got you in power to begin with: character assignation. Its the only thing the GOP is good at.

Posted by: DB | January 13, 2006 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Can we start up "Andrews for Senate 2008" yet? This makes him the front-runner to pick up Lautenberg's seat when he retires.

Posted by: MtLTerp | January 13, 2006 4:41 PM | Report abuse

You forgot to mention that Menendez and Corzine had girlfriends in the same building.

Posted by: Miata7 | January 13, 2006 4:21 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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