Friday, September 19, 2008

New Jersey Senate Election

Democratic incumbent: Frank Lautenberg

Republican candidate: Dick Zimmer

Lautenberg, 84, originally served in the Senate from 1982 to 2001. He was called out of retirement to replace scandal-plagued Senator Bob Torricelli as the Democratic nominee for the Senate in 2002. Lautenberg won that election, and has again been representing New Jersey in the Senate since 2003.

Zimmer, 64, was a congressman from 1991 to 1997. He was the unsuccessful Republican nominee for this Senate seat in 1996. He has practiced law in the meantime.

Real Clear Politics shows polls giving Lautenberg significant, but not overwhelming, leads.

Lautenberg's age has been an issue both in the Democratic primary campaign, and the general election campaign. Here is a report on a quirky poll, indicating that the electorate doesn't think he looks a day over 75!

Clifford Case, who was last reelected in 1972, was the most recent Republican elected to the Senate from New Jersey. Republican Nicholas Brady was appointed to the Senate in 1982, to replace Democrat Harrison Williams, who was convicted in the Abscam scandal and resigned from the Senate. Brady did not run in the subsequent election.

The Democratic Party has dominated New Jersey politics, with some ups and downs, in recent decades. Perhaps, were it not for the age issue, a Democratic candidate would be headed for a landslide. But it still seems probable that Lautenberg will win.

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