Friday, July 14, 2006

New Print Edition: New Jersey Senate & Ohio 15

The new July 14, 2006 print edition of the Rothenberg Political Report is on its way to subscribers. (Click here for subscription information.)

New Jersey Senate: It Depends on Your Definition of Change
By Nathan L. Gonzales

In the New Jersey Senate race, both candidates are claiming to be the candidate for change. The winner of that argument could well be the winner in November, as well.

Appointed-Senator Bob Menendez is running for a full-term and looking to keep the Garden State seat in the Democratic column. With only one-third of the state approving of the job President George W. Bush is doing, and the war in Iraq widely unpopular in the state, Menendez is making the case that a Democratic Senate majority is a necessary balance.

Republicans nominated state Sen. Tom Kean, Jr., the son of highly regarded former Gov. Tom Kean Sr., who also co-chaired the 9/11 Commission. Kean could benefit from Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine’s mistakes during his first year in office, including a recent government shutdown, and a tax hike that Corzine advocated shortly after taking office. Fewer than half of New Jerseyans approve of the job the new governor is doing.

From Corzine’s appointment of Menendez to Gov. Jim McGreevey’s (D) embarrassing departure from office, Kean is banking that voters are ready to take their local frustration out at the federal level.

National Republicans simply don’t have many Senate takeover opportunities. And with the current political landscape strongly favoring Democrats, it is going to take a race with local dynamics for Republicans to have any chance to win a Democratic seat. New Jersey may be that race. Appointed senators often stumble in their first elections and Kean benefits from his father’s good name and goodwill throughout the state.

But Kean must run a terrific campaign, and maybe catch a couple breaks along the way, to buck the national tide rolling against the GOP.

For the rest of the story including the Lay of the Land, candidate bios, the money race, the air war, How It Plays Out, and the Bottom Line ..subscribe now.

Ohio 15: Is Pryce Right for the District?

Republican Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) don’t have a lot in common. Over the years both women have successfully climbed the ladder of party leadership, but with four months to go before the November elections, Pryce’s climb may be in jeopardy.

With President Bush’s sagging poll numbers, Republicans are at risk of losing their majority in the House, and Cong. Pryce is at risk of losing reelection to her Columbus-based 5th District seat. Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy, the Democratic nominee, hopes to take advantage of Bush’s problems, as well as those of unpopular Gov. Bob Taft (R).

Pryce has a reputation as a moderate Republican but her leadership post often calls for her to defend some of the President’s controversial proposals. The landscape nationally, and in the state, favors the Democrats, but Pryce will be well funded in a district that is very competitive.

For the rest of the story including the Lay of the Land, candidate bios, the money race, the air war, How It Plays Out, and the Bottom Line ..subscribe now.