Tag Archives: mid-term elections

New Jersey Offers A Perfect Snapshot of the National Midterm Elections

Bookmark and Share    When it comes to New Jersey, the existing congressional district lines seem to make the results of the upcoming midterm elections fairly static in the state. Of the 13 congressional seats that New Jersey sends to Washington, D.C., five are held by Republican and eight are held by Democrats. That 5 to 8 ratio is actually exceptionally well balanced  when compared to other states in the region like Connecticut, New York, Maryland, or Massachusetts. For the most part, despite the anti-incumbent, anti-Democrat sentiment that exists, most of New Jersey’s representatives are on ground that is relatively more solid than some of their other counterparts nationwide.

But New Jersey Democrats are not feeling very comfortable. In fact many are worried. Some more than others.

Some Republicans may also find themselves having a harder time than usual. Leonard Lance, Chris Smith and Frank LoBiondo may face primary challengers after they went and voted for the extreme liberal tax scheme known as Cap-and-Trade. Having declined my own opportunity to challenge my Congressman, Chris Smith, I do know that a challenge to his nomination is being quite seriously contemplated. The same may apply to LoBiondo and Lance. As three of the only eight Republicans in Congress to support Cap-and-Trade, many Republicans feel that we need nominees that better reflect our belief in limited government, less spending and state rights. Voting for Cap-and-Trade was as removed from those principles as one could get.

However, it is not likely that those challenges will be successful.

Smith, LoBiondo and even Lance, a congressional freshman, have a strong following and oodles of dough that will allow them to buy their nomination come the June 8th primary. And that is all they really need, because in their districts, the Republican nomination is normally tantamount to victory in the general election.

The same goes for most of the Democrats in the Garden’s State’s congressional delegation. But none of them are totally confident under this anti-incumbent environment that seems to be hurting Democrats much more than Republicans. Three Democrats are especially concerned………Frank Pallone, John Adler, and Rush Holt.

Pallone’s district is heavily Democratic and he has more campaign cash on hand than any other Congressman…………..$4 million. Pallone is strong in his Central New Jersey district, but as we have seen, the strength that Democrats have normally been able to count on is not there these days. Pallone’s district also produced unusually large pluralities for a Republican when they overwhelmingly supported Chris Christie for Governor over Democrat incumbent Jon Corzine. So he could be in trouble, especially if a decent and aggressive Republican candidate who can tap into the money needed to compete with Pallone materializes. And that candidate might have arrived.

Congressman Pallone has never faced a challenger who could be defined as a serious threat. But that could be different this time.

The millionaire publisher of New Jersey’s  Two River Times newspapaer, Diane Gooch,  is said to be willing to run and invest 2 million of her own money into her race and raise the rest through donations. If that’s true, Pallone could be, at the very least, in  the race of his life. And no one deserves a good challenge more than him.

Pallone is one of the most vocal liberal legislators in the state. He supports anything and everything liberal and when it comes to economic policy, Frank Pallone does nothing but vote for pork and any measure that will spend taxpayer money. Frank Pallone is of the school of hought that believes when we are going through good economic times, it is the federal government’s moral obligation to spend. But on the flipside,when we are going through tough economic times, Frank Pallone is of the school of thought that believes we have to spend our way out of those bad times. In other words, Pallone’s answer to everything is spend, spend and spend more……..accept for when it concerns securing our nation’s borders or our military capabilities. That is where he supports spending cuts.

It is with this fire for spending that Pallone hopes to someday soon run for statewide office, more specifically the US Senate. So it would be nice to see him be taken out now, while he is in the lower house. If Diane Gooch does decide to run, she may be the one to do it.

My suggestion is, if she is serious about winning the office, Gooch should make it a two cycle campaign. 

Diane Gooch is unknown and this first time out will really just allow her to get some of the name recognition that Pallone already has. So if Diane Gooch runs hard, gets known and makes this a real close race, she will have made a name for herself and in two years, when Republicans have a strong presidential nominee at the top of the ticket, she can run again and in that race, she will probably put Pallone out of our misery.

Even more fertile territory for Republicans is another district that runs from portions of South Central Jersey and into sections of South Jersey. That seat is held by John Adler, a freshman elected in the Obama landslide of ‘08. The district is a Republican one. Prior to Adler, it was held by Republicans for over a decade, but the incumbent GOP congressman retired and in this open seat, the Republican nominee fumbled while Adler ran a relatively smooth campaign. The combination of the two, combined with the Obama wave, swept Adler in. But the tide has tuned and John Adler is facing a short lived Congressional career.

To make matters worse for Adler, his likely opponent will be a former Philadelphia Eagles football player, Jon Runyon. For a South JerseyJohn Adler district that is heavily influenced by Philadelphia, there are few things better than the ability to appeal to the legions of loyal Eagles fans who will gladly vote for you over the Congressman whose name most of them do not know. For all these reasons, it is safe to say that John Adler is one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the nation and probably one of the many that will go down in November.

The other of the most competitive races pit’s a popular conservative Central New Jersey Mayor against a six term incumbent Democrat whose greatest claim to fame is that he lays low. Holt is the champion of nothing other than supporting innocuous, feel good legislation and quietly casting his lot with liberals on every hot button issue. From the government takeover of healthcare to Cap-and-Trade, Rush Holt is there. But while Rush Holt has Nancy Pelosi’s back, voters in his district are wondering who has their back?

Answering that question is Fair Haven Mayor Mike Halfacre.

Halfacre is a conservative leader who brings to the table much more than any past challengers of  Holt.

Articulate, believable, experienced, energetic and accomplished, Mike Halfacre, is the type of leader that people want to see representing them in Washington. Republicans see Halfacre as principled but pragmatic, reliable and respectable. Tea Party enthusiasts find Mayor Halfacre’s record exemplary and promising. They see a leader who has streamlined government and reduce debt all while lowering taxes. His Administration reduced Fair Haven’s debt burden by selling off unused property, saved the Borough $100,000 by consolidating the office of Borough Engineer with Department of Public Works.

Those and other belt tightening measures allowed Mike Halfacre to reduce property taxes in Fair Haven for the first time in decades and still abide by the wishes of voters who saw the need for a Recreation Director. Mayor Halfacre was then able to increase Borough programs for children and seniors while paying the salary of the full-time Recreation Director through fees paid on new programs. Not by taxpayers.

In other words, Tea Part protestors have no reason to protest Mike Halfacre. He is the type of leader that believes that government must get out of the way and not be a burden to the people, but rather an asset.

All of this is in stark contrast to Rush Holt who has never seen a government program unworthy of funding and never seen an issue or problem that didn’t need a new government program to fund.

Altogether, the three races highlighted here are typical for the 80 to 90 congressional seats that, nationally, the Republican Party will be assisting to wage the most aggressive campaigns in. They are seats occupied by Democrats who, with the right push, can be taken down quicker than a grass hut in a hurricane. And in New Jersey candidates like Mayor Mike Halfacre are the “right push” we need.

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WHO WILL LEAD REPUBLICANS BACK INTO POWER

As the GOP recovers from a drubbing at that ballot box that served them with an eviction notice at the White House and a foreclosure on many seats in the house and senate, a reorganization is in order.

Crucial to a successful reorganization is the selection of it’s next national chairman.

Florida Senator mel Martinez

Florida Senator Mel Martinez

After the losses which cost them their majorities in the house and senate during the 2006 midterm elections, the powers that be, hastily installed Florida Senator Mel Martinez as the new chairman. At the same time they also elected Mike Duncan, a veteran political strategist and former Treasurer General Counselor to the RNC, to run the “day to day operations” of the national committee. In other words Duncan was actually the Chairman and Senator Martinez was to be the face of the party.

It was an arrangement that did not last long.

A few months into this arrangement, Senator Martinez stepped down and Mr. Duncan had the title all to himself. Not that it mattered. Whether it was his fault or not Republicans were outspent, out argued , outmaneuvered and voted out.

Outgoing RNC Chairman Mike Duncan

Outgoing RNC Chairman Mike Duncan

I will not blame Mike Duncan for the hemorrhaging of Republicans in this election cycle. That began before he took office, less than a year ago, and it simply continued for the time period that he was in office as chairman. It is more than likely that no individual chairman of the RNC could have prevented the losses Republicans suffered but we do know that the chairman did not help prevent them from happening.

So I do not blame Mike Duncan but I do harbor ill will to the party officials who gave up after 2006 and installed quick replacements to head up the Republican party. It was quite apparent that the party was simply trying to just get through the last two years of President Bush’s term in office. The RNC leadership were more like caretakers than leaders. They did not seek to adopt a leadership that was cutting edge and enthusiastic about revolutionizing the capabilities of the party organization and preparing us for the mother of all elections, the presidency.

It is the same complacency that helped cost Republicans their majorities in congress. Elected officials lost the anti establishment thinking that won them favor back in 1994. After becoming “the establishment” they slowly began to forget that government was there to work for the people not for the people running government.

So here we are saluting a new President-Elect, a new Democrat President-Elect. One who will be partnering with a majority of legislators who are also Democrats.

It might sound depressing to fellow Republicans but the truth is it is that for a number of reasons it is not depressing:

  • Can’t Get Much Worse -We have just about bottomed out. It truly can’t get much worse so the prospects for improving our numbers in the next election are good.

 

  • Liberals Gone Wild -With Democrats in total control of government, there is little to hold them back and prevent them from showing their true colors. When those true colors come out, Americans will realize that the direction they offer is too sharp a turn to the left for their tastes. The last time they had total control was in 1993 when Bill Clinton was President. After two years of liberals gone wild, Americans gave control, of both the house and senate, to Republicans for the first time in forty years. It was something that Republicans could not achieve on their own. It took the combined left leaning radicalization of today’s Democrat party to bring that about and it is about to happen again. In fact the greatest challenge that the new President will face comes from his own party. He will be struggling against them and fighting them in an effort to lead from the center rather than the left.

  • The War – Although the economy helped push the war off the front burner, the changing tide of the surge in Iraq also made the war less of an issue because violence and combat was down and it was being won. The war in Iraq did not help Republicans in this election cycle but not because it was unnecessary, as democrats claim,  but, as I explain in the link referenced here*, Americans became weary and leery of the war. While the surge was delayed and the administration wavered, violence spiked as a result of a resurgence of radical Islamic terrorists in Iraq. That is when Democrats successfully exploited a declining resolve to continue an effort that people were beginning to think was becoming a quagmire. Since the increased deployment of troops into Iraq, the situation improved and there is light at the end of the tunnel. As a result, despite the cries of candidate Obama to end the war, President Obama will not be withdrawing all of our forces from Iraq anytime soon.  Now that he has seen the national security data that demonstrates the dangers of his misguided promises as a candidate, as a President he will not be so quick to screw things up. Ultimately Republicans will be proven right on the issue.

 

  • The Economy – Typically our economy goes through cycles of growth and contraction every ten to fifteen years. More accurately, just about every 11 years, we encounter economic turmoil brought on by the cumulative effects of industrial shifts, world events and other related circumstances. That being said, it is how we maneuver through these cycles that determines their severity and the length of time that we endure them. The liberal propensity to raise taxes and redistribute wealth during these times does not help. Those policies simply deepen the crisis and draw out the cycle. If the knee jerk, liberal tendency towards more taxes and an expansion of government does occur, Republicans will be able to stem their losses and start increasing their numbers. The current crisis that we are experiencing is not a result of Republican economic policy. It is a result of their complacency and unwillingness to differentiate themselves from liberals when it came to spending. Our own President had no problem with cutting taxes, a good thing, but he also never cut spending and neither did fellow Republicans in congress.

All of this allows for those Republicans, who are in office, to offer alternatives to the counterproductive liberal agenda that will undoubtedly dominate national policy. To effectively achieve that, Republican members of congress need to reestablish their fiscally conservative roots and inherent sense of an offensive strategy when it comes to national security. The fact that, as Republicans, we choose to eliminate threats rather than tolerate them will be made much clearer with liberals in control and it must not be ignored.

Now that Republicans are not in control we now have the luxury that Democrats had. The luxury of not having to defend our leadership. Democrats will now have the chance to be held accountable for everything that happens. They will have to take blame for the results of increasing taxes, increasing unnecessary regulations and increasing the size and cost of government. With their leadership comes responsibility. With responsibility comes credit as well as blame. After eight years of taking blame for all that is not liked, Republicans can now luxuriate in being able to place blame on Democrats as they have done to Republicans.

But while those Republicans elected to congress do their job by providing alternatives to liberal policies and maintaining their role as the loyal opposition, our political leaders must hit the ground running.

The question now is, who is best suited to reorganize and reinvigorate Republicans? The person needed to rally Republicans must be articulate. But a good speaker is not all that we need. The person who is made the new chairman of the party must have a passionate desire to advance the cause, incredible organizational skills, the ability to delegate responsibilities to the right and most qualified people, endless energy and stamina as well as creativity and resourcefulness and a proven record of success.

The new chairman needs the same type of vision and commitment to conservative principles that the freshmen members of congress who were elected in the 1994 Republican revolution had. The new chairman must have a vision which understands that the best government is the government that gets out of the way and allows freedom to flourish by defending it at home and abroad and by insuring that opportunity is available to all.

Currently, there are seven frontrunners. They include:

Steele

Mike Steele

Michael SteeleGOPAC , former Lt. Governor of Maryland and unsuccessful candidate for US Senate in 2006.

Chuck Yob

Chuck Yob

Chuck Yob – Successful Michigan businessman, GOP fundraiser and Michigan National Committeeman

Saul Anuzis

Saul Anuzis

Saul AnuzisChairman of the Michigan Republican State Committee

Alec Pointevint

Alec Pointevint

Alec Poitevint – Georgia’s Republican National Committeeman

Katon Dawson

Katon Dawson

Katon DawsonRepublican Party Chairman of South Carolina , the state that had the best performance for Republicans during this election cycle.

Jim Greer

Jim Greer

Jim Greer – Florida’s Republican party Chairman

Chip Saltsman

Chip Saltsman

Chip Saltsman – A former Chair of Tennessee’s GOP and the former campaign manager of Mike Huckabee’s failed candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee

Speculation has not only Huckabee’s former campaign guru on the list, Mike Huckabee himself is rumored to be a potential contender. So is one of Huckabee’s former opponents for the GOP presidential nod, Mitt Romney.

Of all these names the one person who I believe could do the most for the Republican National Committee is Mitt Romney.

antrom11

Mitt Romney

Romney has been successful at every job that he has undertaken. He is passionate. He is articulate, savvy and has an eye for recruiting those who are the best at their jobs. Mitt Romney could do wonders for the party. He would be able to provide the GOP’s highly rated, get out the vote, 72 hour program with great improvements and he would create a top notch center for Republican organization, communications, fundraising and creative strategy.

Problem is that I want Mitt Romney to be able to run for President. I am looking forward to either him or Sarah Palin being our 2012 nominee. Becoming the political leader of the party does not help him establish the bipartisan image that a Presidential nominee needs. If he did as a good a job for the party as I think he would, having been the chairman of the party he rebuilds, could help him get the party’s nomination though.

However, I feel that a truly smart RNC chairman would involve Mitt Romney and utilize his expertise. Doing so would keep Romney free to expand his nonpolitical credentials while still allowing for his Midas touch to assist behind the scenes.

As for the other names mentioned, Mike Steele, Katon Dawson and Jim Greer are the only names that really interest me. Each of them have demonstrated ideological superiority to one extent or the other and have achieved outstanding results for Republicans.

Former Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich

Former Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich

One name not mentioned but is at the top of my list, is former Maryland Governor Robert Erhlich. After losing reelection in the 2006 GOP sea of change, Bob Ehrlich has not been discussed much. That is a shame because he happens to be one of the best in the newer generation of conservative politics. He was the first Republican to be elected governor of Maryland in almost 60 years. Through it all Ehrlich maintained his principles and conservative ideology. Not once did he try to win favor by acting like a democrat. Instead, he successfully implemented conservative ideology into government application. He also happens to be articulate and effective in his ability to explain and deliver the conservative message.

 

Sometimes referred to as a Kempite Republican, Bob Erhlich could be just what we need to rekindle our spirit and rally the cause.

Whoever the grand poobahs of the GOP hierarchy install as chairman, it is my greatest hope that they recruit the right people to carry out the mission that is ahead.

Patrick Ruffini

Patrick Ruffini

People like political Internet champion Patrick Ruffini who could incorporate the most cyber savvy organization politics has ever seen and Ralph Reed who is a master at reaching out and organizing the grassroots.

Ralph Reed

Ralph Reed

Being the minority party is not a problem to be feared. Becoming the minority is what we needed to fear and now, we are there.  So the worst is over. Now we have the chance to take advantage of what Democrats took advantage of for a long time, minority status and the ability to place blame on the powers that be that comes with it.

From here we can only come back, and if we take the right steps, we can come back quickly. To do so will require that our first steps be the right steps . In this case that would be done by picking the right person to map out our future and recruit the brightest lights to help illuminate the fast track to the reinvigoration that the party is capable of.

punchline-politics1

 

Q: What’s the problem with Barack Obama jokes?


A: His followers don’t think they’re funny and other people don’t think they’re jokes.

 

 

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