So Will the GOP Waste Some More Cash in New Jersey in 2008?
by Jonathan Singer, Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 09:56:35 AM EST
We've seen it happen a number of times in recent years. Republicans come to the conclusion that they are on the verge of winning a big statewide contest in New Jersey and plow much-needed resources and time into challenging the Democratic nominee. It happened during the 2002 Senate election, when former Senator Frank Lautenberg was tapped to replace then-Democratic Senator Bob Torricelli on the ballot and Republicans thought they could sneak off with a victory, but in the end Lautenberg won by 10 points. It happened in 2004, when the folks in the Bush-Cheney campaign thought they could make a run on New Jersey, only to lose by a 7-point margin on election day. It happened in 2005, when Republicans thought they had a shot at defeating Jon Corzine in the gubernatorial election but ended up losing by a double-digit margin. And it happened again in 2006 when Republicans believed they could defeat recently-appointed Democratic Senator Bob Menendez with the son of a former Republican Governor, Tom Kean Jr., only to see him go down in flames, losing by 8 points. So will Republicans fall prey to this situation again? If they take too close a look at the latest Quinnipiac poll they might.Do you approve or disapprove of the way Frank Lautenberg is handling his job as United States Senator? (2/20-25/2007; MoE +/- 2.7%)
With Lautenberg's approval rating at 40 percent and trending slightly downward, Republicans have to mount a serious challenge in New Jersey, right? We should certainly hope they do. New Jersey is a notoriously expensive state in which to advertise (perhaps the most expensive, in fact), with candidates needing to spend not only in the New York media market but also the Philadelphia one in order to blanket the state with their message through television or radio.
And the money that Republicans spend in New Jersey is money that they cannot spend in other states. Taking a look at the 2006 cycle, for example, if the National Republican Senatorial Committee had devoted a portion of the more than $4 million it spent attacking Menendez in New Jersey to, say, Virginia, Montana or Missouri, each of which saw Republican Senators going down to defeat by much narrower margins that the one by which Kean lost in New Jersey, it's quite possible (and perhaps even likely) that the GOP would have still been in control of the Senate today.
So let's hope that Republicans take a look at these numbers on Frank Lautenberg and fall for the same mistake they have so often in recent years by deciding that this is the cycle during which they will break their long losing streak in New Jersey by dumping several million dollars into a race that you and I and even they (in the back of their minds) know is futile.