Menendez For Senate - Kicking Off The Campaign
by Scott Shields, Thu Jun 01, 2006 at 06:41:56 AM EDT
This is an incredibly exciting week for all of us here at the Menendez campaign. While we've been hard at work for some time now, we're just starting to work at the new headquarters in New Brunswick and are "officially" launching the campaign today with two events in North and South Jersey. Even though New Jersey's considered a "blue" state and Senator Menendez has something of an incumbency advantage, this race is far from over. The rightists have been crowing, for example, over poll numbers that indicate a tight race, or even a lead for Kean Jr.
However, the polls they've been citing have largely been from partisan Republican firms like Strategic Vision and Rasmussen. In fact, the GOP's clamoring for bona fide good news in this race has even caught the attention of Media Matters, which has repeatedlycriticized the partisan Republican Beltway media for pushing absurdly pro-Kean Jr talking points. Meanwhile, truly independent polling forms like Quinnipiac have shown Senator Menendez in the lead.
As I wrote in my farewell (for now, anyway) post here, I couldn't be more proud to be working on this campaign. Bob Menendez's performance in the Senate has impressed me to no end. Unlike some newcomers who too-cautiously refuse to stick their necks out to stand up for the people who voted them into office, Senator Menendez has yet to shy away from a fight. While the Republican leadership hemmed and hawed when it was announced that the Bush administration had approved the sale of American port operations to a corporate holding of the United Arab Emirates, Menendez stood up and said no. Just recently, when a majority of the Senate (including a majority of Democrats) voted to confirm Michael Hayden, the man who orchestrated the illegal wiretapping of American citizens, to head the CIA, Menendez stood up once again and said no.
And even though the GOP is going to keep claiming they've got a shot at taking this seat away from us, there are very good reasons for optimism on our side. For example, Tom Kean Jr is running a campaign of confusion, with quite a few of his current supporters actually believing him to be his father, the accomplished and respected former Governor of New Jersey. In reality, he's a state senator with little experience and even fewer accomplishments in public office. (Imagine that -- a Republican candidate running on little more than his father's record. We've all seen how that works out, right?) And though Kean Jr is trying to position himself as some sort of reformer, he's also indicated solid, across the board support for President Bush's economic and foreign policies. Those policies, as you might imagine, are not too popular here in Jersey. Then again, those positions could still change. Kean Jr's proven himself to be quite, um, flexible on the issues.
This week also marks the launch of our brand new campaign website. That's the part (as the internet director) that I'm obviously most excited about. While an earlier campaign site that was also quite nice had gone live some time ago, this new site, designed by the good folks at Plus Three, is truly awesome. I won't bore you all with the back end details, but it's as cool inside as it is out. The site is just in its infancy, but we're building it up more and more each day.
One Jersey-based PR industry blogger actually criticized us for not having a blog. (It should be noted that he also criticized Kean Jr's "blog" for being little more than a collection of press releases.) I sent an e-mail to let him know it's coming, but still no response or revision. Oh well. It hasn't cost us any lost sleep. Essentially, rather than throw something up with Wordpress or Movable Type and shoehorn it into the old website that's going to be scrapped anyway, we've decided to do it the right way and build a Scoop-based blog into the new site. Unfortunately, it's not going to be ready in time for the launch, but I promise it's on its way very soon.
Even without the blog up just yet, there are a number of ways you can help Senator Menendez stand up to President Bush and the GOP Congress. If you're interested, we definitely want to hear from you. The Republicans are going to throw the kitchen sink at us this year and we're going to need your help fighting them off. Wish us luck!
UPDATE: Just in time for the campaign launch, we got our new site up and running live at Menendez2006.com. Stop by to check it out and sign up to help Senator Menendez stand up to President Bush and his GOP Congress!
Also, it's worth noting that the PR industry blogger mentioned above got in touch with me regarding this post. We had a great conversation about the political potential of social media on the internet. He'll apparently be updating his earlier post or writing something new about the campaign's plans moving forward. Very cool!
Oh yeah -- and thanks for the bump, Chris!