One of the best chances for a GOP pickup in the Senate is the New Jersey seat vacated by Democrat Jon Corzine, now held by stand-in Robert Menendez. However, Menendez is facing a strong challenge by Tom Kean, Jr., son of former governor and current 9/11 commission chair Tom Kean, Sr.
Four years ago, when an ethically-challenged Robert Torricelli was in danger of losing his New Jersey seat, the Senator dropped out of the race and ex-Senator Frank Lautenberg ran in his stead, coasting to victory. Is history about to repeat itself? From the NY Observer: “Jersey turns, Dems panic; Torricelli, anyone?”
A powerful clue that U.S. Senator Robert Menendez might ultimately be forced to withdraw from his bid for a full term in New Jersey emerged last Friday, when he addressed the question head-on just hours after the world learned that he is the subject of a federal criminal investigation.Unbelievable. So then the best case scenario for NJ Republicans is if Menendez stays close enough in the polls so
“The answer is no,” he said.
That may sound a touch familiar to New Jerseyans. It was, after all, around this time four Septembers ago that Senator Robert Torricelli’s re-election campaign—besieged by similar speculation—spent a weekend attaching a simple, defiant message to Torricelli lawn signs around the state: “Nobody fights harder.”
The very next week, of course, Mr. Torricelli quit the race in tears.
And the rest was history—and the subject, no doubt, of recurring nightmares for many Republicans: Former Senator Frank Lautenberg was recruited to replace Mr. Torricelli at the last minute, and the Democrats ended up with a double-digit win.