No one, to my knowledge, has given next Tuesday’s general election any kind of nickname or nom de guerre, if you will, but to paraphrase the late Ed Sullivan, it’s going to be a really big show.
Our live election night coverage beginning at 8 on NJN as well as on our website (njn.net) and NJN radio should be fun, lively and engaging. So be sure to tune in if you have any interest at all in state, national and even local politics as this one plays out.
Pundits to the left, right and center are all predicting a landslide victory for the Republicans to the point where flipping Democratic control of the House of Representatives is virtually guaranteed and a 10-seat swing for control of the Senate — unthinkable a few months back — is considered at least an outside shot.
Here in New Jersey there are three House races where all three Democratic incumbents are, if not on the ropes, at least running scared.
You could figure that in the 3rd district, where the freshman Democrat, John Adler, won a seat that before him had been occupied by Republicans for a century or more … including a stint by Jim Saxton of more than 20 years before he opted for retirement. Former Philadelphia Eagles lineman and star Jon Runyan lined up opposite Adler after a primary and from the get-go promised to be a threat. So much so that the Courier-Post broke the story of some on Adler’s campaign team recruiting a Mount Holly frame shop owner with no political background as a third party candidate. Peter DeStefano claimed Tea Party roots; roots the Post pointed out that would siphon votes away from Runyan.
An elusive Adler didn’t expressly deny his own or his campaign’s involvement while being tracked for days by our intrepid South Jersey Correspondent, Joe Bisicchia. But later he did outright deny any personal involvement in the recruitment.
In the Jersey Shore-centric 6th Congressional District, Real-life Tea Partier Anna Little first took down the Republican party’s establishment candidate in the primary. And now the mayor from tiny Atlantic Highlands is putting the fear o’ God, as they say, into 11-term Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone. Polls show her closing to within 7 points in a district Pallone’s used to winning by 30 points.
Pundits gave Little virtually no chance of knocking off Pallone after her big score on primary election night back in June. Taking down a wealthy small-town newspaper publisher in Diane Gooch is not the same as felling a campaign cash-flush Goliath like Pallone in what was thought to be a safe district.
But in a sign of her growing strength, the RNC sent its chairman, Michael Steele, here a few days ago and state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean — who’s middle name could be Cautious — threw his support to Little this week in a press announcement. Sounds like a bandwagon forming. Even if she only comes close, it’d probably send the kind of shockwaves Christie Whitman’s near-toppling of U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley did almost 20 years ago.
In the 12th Congressional District, six-term incumbent Democratic incumbent Rush Holt is getting a run for his money from wealthy Princeton venture capitalist Scott Sipprelle. A Monmouth University Gannett New Jersey poll out yesterday showed Holt pulling away; picking up a few points. But we hear here in the newsroom that it could be tighter.
It says here that Sipprelle will lose some votes in what could be a squeaker. This, after being wounded by Holt’s accusations that he had a hand in having his property taxes lowered by serving on some special commission studying the issue in the borough. Sipprelle says there was no relation to his property taxes being lowered.
Sipprelle can’t and doesn’t argue the facts: That his home was revalued and increased in value some 70 percent from the $2 million range to the $3 million dollar range while his property taxes fell $79,500 to 64,200; or about 20 percent. Even a grade-schooler can do that math. It’s a tough spin job for the Sipprelle campaign when property taxes on homes in the poorer sections of Princeton increased at the same time Sipprelle’s went down markedly. The best he could do was threaten to sue Holt for slander, but only after the election since he says he has an office to win first.
But Sipprelle tells our Michael Aron on this weekend’s On The Record where both candidates appear together, that the home he and his family moved into in 2001 was once the summer home of Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th American president, he’s restored it and occasionally opens it to the public for tours. So “it’s an act of public service to restore and reclaim that home,” Sipprelle tells Michael on the program.
The Bergen County executive race isanother big magilla (sp?); pitting incumbent Dennis McNerney and a Democratic machine badly damaged by ex-boss Joe Ferriero (he of the federal corruption conviction) against the longtime county clerk, Republican Kathe Donovan.
In part because it’s the state’s most populous, it’s considered a key for the gubernatorial race in a few years. Some hardball politics up there, to put it mildly.
So if you tune in Tuesday, if you’ll allow one more shameless plug, you can watch these races and more unfold; hear from the candidates themselves, both winners and losers, as our crack NJN News team covers the races.
Michael Aron will be in the studio with top pundits and political operatives; yours truly will be in-house with the respected political analyst Brigid Harrison, of Montclair State University, and pollster, Peter Woolley, director of the Fairleigh Dickinson PublicMind Poll.
In the field at the various headquarters we’ll have State House Correspondent Zachary Fink, Senior Correspondent Marie Denoia Aronsohn, Jerry Henry, Adrienne Supino, Desiree Taylor and Joe Bisicchia. Dari Mandell will rove for us. Ed Rodgers puts his public affairs hat on to oversee it all with the rest of our team.
So it promises to be a lively night and we here at NJN News and Public Affairs are looking forward to bringing it all to you, live.
Or as Mr. Sullivan might say, it should be a really good show.