So here outside Philly, we're getting New Jersey political ads, too, including one for Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, that features him in a courtroom
. Oh, no, wait, it's not what you're thinking - he's not a defendant, he's touting his credentials fighting
political corruption, not facilitating it.
A man could get rich betting against the New Jersey Republican Party in recent years. They have managed to blow race after race that had, at one point or another, seemed competitive - taking on Corzine in 2000, McGreevey in 2001, Torricelli and then Lautenberg in 2002, Corzine for governor in 2005... So whenever I hear "the GOP has a real shot in Jersey this year" I instinctively roll my eyes.
But if you look at recent polling between Menendez and Republican Tom Kean Jr., and throw out the useless Zogby Interactive polls, you see Kean has had a lead in quite a few, and been close in just about all of them. Kean up 44-40, 44-39, 43-39, down 42 to 40...
Now, the deceased voter demographic tends to break late towards the Democrats in Jersey, but you figure the Kean campaign has to be pretty pleased with those numbers.
So if you're Menendez, how livid do you have to be at the murmurs of "pulling a Torricelli" and dumping you and replacing you at the last minute? (Hat tip, Instapundit.) I mean, you're down a whole four or five points - barely outside the margin of error - and already the discussion is who's replacing you. How do you persuade the voters that you're not dead meat? How do you turn around the momentum, when your own party is starting to write you off as a goner?
When I first heard those rumors, I had figured this was just idle chatter. But now I wonder if the "Bob Menendez Drop Out Watch" is turning into a self-fulfilling prophecy?
And, oh, by the way, if this comes to pass, how do the state's Hispanic voters react to the Democrats dumping the state's first Latino senator, in favor of, say, standard-issue Democratic Congressman Rob Andrews?
RANDOM UPDATE: Life's Little Ironies Department: Amazon is now "bundling" my book with that of Patrick Hynes - you remember him! - for $27.34. If you leave the two books alone on your bookshelf at night, they argue whether John McCain's Straight Talk America gives sufficient answers to questions about their staffers.