About our special election show last night, I think it was pretty much as advertised. Three pretty competitive Congressional races in a state where you’re lucky to get one among our 13 seats in any given election year.
But national politics looks to have played here as well so the 3rd, 6th and 12th (see previous post) didn’t disappoint in terms of drama at least early in the night when early returns showed the Republicans sweeping the Democratic incumbents out of all three.
In the end, as I’m sure you’ve read or heard elsewhere by now, only the 3rd district saw the incumbent go down to defeat and that outcome wasn’t exactly a shocker. After all, that district had been Republican for more than a century before Adler won it in ’08. But what I found somewhat shocking was the way Runyan came upon his victory over the freshman Democrat. Basically, if Adler would’ve tended the home fires, it appears he would’ve been re-elected, which would’ve surprised if not amazed many in a year the Republican wave reclaimed the House and made numerous other gains across the country.
As our Zachary Fink reported last night and blogs about today, Adler’s Democrat-dominated hometown of Cherry Hill (the only Camden County town in the district) didn’t come out for him in the kinds of numbers they have in past elections; not just for him but other Democrats who’d tried before him. Made me think of Al Gore not winning his own home state of Tennessee back in 2000 and if he had, he could’ve avoided all the hanging chads of Florida and the U.S. Supreme Court decision that ultimately put George W. Bush in the presidency the first time around.
Again, they say tend the home fires. So I don’t think the last words have been written or uttered about whatever may have happened there.
The third party candidacy of Peter DeStefano that the Courier Post reported was created as a tea party imposter by Adler campaign operatives to draw votes from Runyan appeared to have little impact. For the record, Adler denies having anything to do with that candidacy; a candidacy that sparked calls to the feds from state Republican State Committee chair Jay Webber for a criminal probe. Now that the election’s over, I wonder if the combatants will let bygones be bygones or not or whether there’s still interest by the GOP of getting to the bottom of it all.
As our Michael Aron said on our election show last night, Mr. DeStefano will go down as “a footnote in history.”
Chris Christie said the state’s most important race was Adler – Runyan. The governor claimed a major victory for state Republicans through that race and that may be so. But the Republicans also lost a state Senate seat in a special election (District 14) and got turned back in the 6th and 12th. That seat had been in Republican hands for ages. Granted there are many state and other public worker households in that district, and there appears to be no love lost between organized labor generally and a hard-charging governor who’s got worker benefits and perks in his sites for everyone from cops to teachers to government workers.
Gov. Christie’s national star remains on the rise as Republicans swept up lots of state races around the nation as well. Iowa, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania all come to mind as among the states where the gov spent time campaigning for winners. While California billionaire Meg Whitman didn’t get to join the fun, there were plenty more who did who Jersey’s governor stumped with. As an old Yankees manager named Casey used to say, “You could look it up.”
President Obama, well into a post-election White House news conference this afternoon, finally conceded that Democrats had gotten “a shellacking” from the nation’s voters.
Back home here in Jersey, Republicans also picked up the top job in Jersey’s most populous county, Bergen, for the first time in a decade when Kathe Donovan beat the incumbent Democratic executive Dennis McNerney. The Joe Ferriero machine appears to have finally exhausted itself, courtesy in many respects to the ex-chairman’s corruption charges from a time when Gov. Christie spent his days as U.S. attorney.
But other than that, to quote Alan Steinberg, a guest on Michael’s election night roundtable here on NJN, basically the political landscape “returned to form” here yesterday.
Still, the ups and downs of an evening that topped off a spirited campaign season made for another interesting election night in New Jersey brought to your living room once more from the team here at NJN.
And as one of my guests, Peter Woolley of the Fairleigh Dickinson PublicMind Poll, told our viewers from the set last night, the next campaign season begins “right now.” Election to follow.
See ya next time.