At this point in the campaign, all the cards are on the table. This year, for Democrats, that means, do all you can to cut the losses and focus on saving what competitive seats they still have a chance of maintaining, like long term incumbents Barney Frank of Massachusetts and John Dingel of Michigan. For Republicans it means, nail down those races that are toss ups and produce the gains that will take back the House and possibly even the Senate.
That’s why top Democrats like President Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden and even President Obama himself have had to stomp in the states and districts of incumbents and hit the trail for people like Barney Frank, or Virginia’s Tom Periello. These are seats that should be shoo ins, yet voter anger has them even at risk unless they can stop the hemorrhaging. But for Republicans, the story is quite different.
For Republicans, big names like Sarah Palin, Jim DeMint, Chris Christie, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and others are out on the campaign trail for people like Sean Bielat, Harold Johnson, Randy Hultgren, Sean Duffy and John Runyan, all virtual unknowns who are about to take down some of the biggest names in Congress.
Most of us live in the 400 or so , so-called “safe” districts where there is little if any race going on. As someone who has spent my life in the blue states of New York and New Jersey , I have usually resided in such safe districts, but this year, the Republican Rejuvenation of these midterm elections is bringing competition even to these states.
Case in point is New Jersey’s 4th congressional district. Incumbent Democrat John Adler is facing a race in an atmosphere that has him swimming against the tide and Republicans are doing everything possible to insure that the tide beats him.
In those towns within the 4th district that are strongest for John Runyan, the local, state and national G.O.P. has been relentlessly gnawing away at Adler’s support and feeding a relentless cycle of energy that is electrifying the already enthused and exciting those who are normally not even involved in the election process. In just this week alone, popular Governor Chris Christie has attended two jam packed rallies for Runyan, he has taken part in two special teleconferences to address the hundreds of volunteers at different campaign headquarters who are manning the phones and providing the walking sheets for an army of more volunteers whom are going door to door. In fact, as residents of the 4th CD, Governor Christie’s own parents, are manning phones out of a local Mount Holly headquarters, leaving the governor to recently quip that his Dad is working harder for John Runyan’s election than he did for his son.
Today, in an unprecedented event, Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, even stopped by the district to campaign for Runyan.
The event which was part of the RNC‘s “Fire Pelosi” bus tour produced a standing room only crowd and fired up an already energized electorate.
Even I was moved by Chairman Steele’s words, and that says a lot, for although I had liked Mike Steele before he was RNC Chairman, I have found myself disappointed by his job performance as Chairman. Yet his performance today was exemplary.
He entered the Atlantis Ballroom of the Toms River Holiday Inn to thunderous, almost rock star-like applause, and from then on he had the crowd eating up every word with a mix of ideological fervor, commonsense logic, and a degree of humor that even had the reporters covering the event laughing out loud. (I saw you Zach Fink).
Steele’s remarks not only drove home the importance of defeating Democrats in this election, but he assured the crowd that the GOP has learned their lesson. He embraced and thanked the TEA Party movement for reawakening us to the principles we strayed away from, and promised that the Grand Old Party has come to understand that we can no longer compromise on spending or the size of government and that no type of big government is acceptable, not even “big government Republicanism”. He even credited the new class of freshman of Republicans for turning the Grand Old Party into the “Great Opportunity Party.”
Steele also reminded the New Jersey audience that it was they who has started this electoral revolution. He reminded the audience that it was the election of their Governor, Chris Christie, which helped set in motion the trend for the type of less government, less spending leadership that voters all across the nation are demanding this November 2nd.
The event gave a campaign that is already slightly ahead in the polls, an injection of unbridled enthusiasm, the type of enthusiasm that is needed to motivate the forces in the tiring days of a long campaign, the type of energy that Democrats and the forces of John Adler are lacking in their uphill battle.
Gone for the Adler campaign are the appearances by heavy hitters with star power. Gone for Adler is the expectation of making the over half a million contacts that the Republican volunteers for Runyan have made. Gone for Adler is the final injection of money from the Democrat National Campaign Committee for attacks ads against Runyan.
And if today’s rally was not enough, the same area of the district Christie and Steel have campaigned in, will be experiencing a major GOTV rally on Sunday as the TEA Party Express bus stops in Toms River with one of the biggest stars of the 2010 election, Sarah Palin.
As someone who has been assigned to work on targeted races in the past, I can honestly say that I have never quite seen the level of intensity that some of the most hotly contested races, like Runyan in NJ4 are seeing in 2010. It is all the culmination of Democrat leadership which has lurched so far to the left and demonstrated all the aspects which people hate most about politics and the process, that the electorate has become polarized to the point of seeing the choices as not being between the ‘left’ or the ‘right’ but rather between right or wrong.
For these reasons, all over the United States, unknowns like John Runyan will be taking control of Congress this January. The only question now is how much in control will they be in. Three weeks ago POLITICS 24/7 saw the GOP on a trajectory that provided them with 62 seats in the House and 10 or 11 seats in the Senate. On Friday, POLITICS 24/7 will release its final predictions along with an election night schedule that will help you understand what trends some of the earliest results will be pointing to.