Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is already campaigning for re-election, but given that 38 percent of voters surveyed do not even know who he is, national Republicans see him as possibly vulnerable, and his seat as a “dark horse pickup opportunity.”
Columnist Guy Benson, writing at TownHall.com, wrote today that Republicans are confident that they can capture at least a bare majority in the United States Senate in 2012. The reason: Democrats must defend 23 Senate seats, many of which they won in 2006 for the first time. Republicans have only 10 seats to defend. Only four of them are competitive, and not very competitive at that:
- Massachusetts, where Scott Brown has a lot of campaign cash available.
- Maine, if Senator Olympia Snowe falls to a primary challenger.
- Nevada, where scandal-plagued John Ensign has announced that he will not run again. (Will Sharron Angle take his place on the ballot?)
- Arizona, where John Kyl is retiring. Democrats hope to run current Representative Gabrielle Giffords for the seat, if she is well enough.
In sharp contrast, at least ten Democrats in the Senate are vulnerable, and Republicans need to “flip” only four Senate seats to capture the Senate.
New Jersey is not (yet) one of those ten. But: a recent Rutgers-Eagleton poll revealed that Menendez has the following numbers:
- Favorable: 34 percent.
- Unfavorable: 28 percent.
- Don’t know/No opinion: 38 percent.
Last week, Taegan Goddard’s PoliticalWire called Menendez “The Forgotten Senator” on the basis of that poll. Five weeks earlier, Goddard quoted Menendez as offering this excuse for his unfavorable ratings:
It’s very hard everyday, no matter how much work we do in communicating my work, my views, my visions, to penetrate, and until you do television or radio advertising to talk about what you’ve done, what you believe in, we’re not going to see those numbers change.
That a “psychic” political prognosticator was predicting in December that Menendez might not win re-election might or might not be significant.
RoseAnn Salanitri, who last year led a citizens’ campaign to attempt to recall Menendez from office, laughed aloud at those Rutgers-Eagleton numbers. Said she:
We’ll make sure that the voters know who he is, by the end of the 2012 election!
Representative Scott Garrett (R-NJ-5), State Senator Mike Doherty (R-23), former CNN commentator (and present Fox News Channel contributor) Lou Dobbs, and former Highlands Mayor Anna Little have all been mentioned as possible Republican challengers to Menendez in 2012.
Like this article? Want to be notified of more? Click Subscribe, above.