Cory Booker makes it official that he's running for NJ-SEN (special): he announced it today. Here's the thing, though: so is Rep. Frank Pallone. For that matter, so is Rep. Rush Holt, but Holt's brand of progressive is probably not envelopes-of-cash-under-the-table enough for the Democratic Senate primary. In other words: this is a two-man show, and Frank Pallone is going to startle a lot of people outside of New Jersey by not folding like a cheap suit. Pallone has been hungry for a Senate seat for the last decade, and absent a sudden resignation by Bob Menendez this is pretty much going to be the man's best shot. And... well, I do not want to libel the man or anything, given that I used to live in his district; so let us just say that the Congressman may have a somewhat jaundiced view of the mayor of Newark presuming to switch jobs before Newark is fixed. Or even stabilized.
Meanwhile, over on the GOP side so far it's... Steve Lonegan. Deadline for filing for the August primary is Monday; the election itself is in October. Which is to say, it's not in November, thus pretty much ensuring that the big question for that contest will be How many seats in the legislature will the GOP flip? rather than Will Chris Christie win the election? ...Which is also possibly an explanation why not that many state Republicans are jumping to the special Senate election; they're looking at maybe a better working environment in the state legislature next year*.
Interesting days ahead.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: When somebody starts telling you that the NJ state legislature is going to change the election date for the 2013 general election so that it matches the special election, be sure to ask them sweetly how they plan to override Christie's veto. Spoiler warning: they can't override the veto. Not-really-a-spoiler-warning: the legislature doesn't particularly want to, given that almost all of these people are running for re-election, and pushing up the election day will play havoc with their schedules. If you have to point that out to somebody, be sure to tack on But of course, all of this is obvious to anyone with half a brain anyway: it really will help set the mood.
*Also: call me the eternal optimist, but I would like to note that the Republican caretaker Senator (once, and probably future, Attorney General Jeff Chiesa) will be in a remarkably better position to actually run for a Senate seat in 2014 or 2018. Attorney General is an appointed position in New Jersey, not elected; and New Jersey hasn't elected a Republican Senator in decades. Senator-designate Chiesa is certainly happy to tout his conservative credentials, which suggests that he's perhaps ready to see what future opportunities come his way.