Tag Archives: New Jersey

Sen. Lautenberg To Retire … Again

In a development that was generally expected, New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election next year. The senator is 89 years old, meaning he will be 90 at the time of the 2014 general election and 96 if he were to fully serve his next term. Though Lautenberg’s job approval numbers are good, his age is viewed as an overwhelming negative within every voter group.

This is actually the second time Lautenberg will retire from the Senate. Originally elected in 1982 he served three consecutive terms, choosing not to seek re-election in 2000. Two years later, however, when then-Sen. Bob Torricelli (D) was forced from the Democratic ticket due to scandal, the party leaders chose Lautenberg to replace the departing incumbent just a month before the 2002 election. He went on to score a 54-44 percent victory over Republican businessman Doug Forrester.

Sen. Lautenberg was subsequently re-elected in 2008, a 56-42 percent win over former Rep. Dick Zimmer (R-NJ-12) after defeating Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ-1) 59-35 percent in the Democratic primary. In all, Lautenberg, upon completing what will now be his final term in the Senate, will have served five non-consecutive six-year terms.

Despite his age, the senator was adamant, until yesterday, that he had not made a decision about seeking re-election. Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s statements saying that he wanted to run for Senate in 2014 clearly irked the incumbent, but the polls were unmistakable in positioning Lautenberg as a double-digit underdog if the two men were to face each other in the Democratic primary.
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Lautenberg Attacks Booker

Just after a new Quinnipiac University survey (Jan. 15-21; 1,647 registered New Jersey voters; 616 Democratic primary voters) gave Newark Mayor Cory Booker a 51-30 percent lead over Sen. Frank Lautenberg in a hypothetical Democratic primary pairing, an awakening incumbent struck back. The senator, who most believe will retire rather than face what appears will be a very divisive party primary against Booker, responded to the mayor’s semi-offensive in a key interview.

Speaking with a National Journal reporter, Lautenberg said of Booker, “He’s got a lot of work to do — a lot of work that should have been done and hasn’t been done [with reference to solving the city of Newark’s problems]. The senator went onto say that Newark is a “city in desperate need of attention.” He further said that “maybe if the mayor can solidify the fact that he wants to improve Newark by being there, things would be different. But he’s free to do as he wants to do.”

Lautenberg will be 90 years old before the next election, which polling shows is a decided negative among all voter segments. Booker has said both that he does not want to challenge Lautenberg, but has the desire to run for the Senate, and in 2014.

The early sparring suggests that this would be a divisive primary if it were to occur, but the most likely course of action still points to Lautenberg, perhaps reluctantly, deciding to retire.

Age Matters in the NJ Senate Race: Booker Way Ahead

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D)

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D)

Quinnipiac University polled New Jersey voters including a subset of self-identified Democratic primary participants (Jan. 15-21; 1,647 registered New Jersey voters; 616 Democratic primary voters), questioning them about a proposed nomination battle between Sen. Frank Lautenberg and Newark Mayor Cory Booker. So far, Booker has said he will defer to the elder senator, but has also made it clear that he wants to run for the Senate in 2014. Lautenberg is expected to retire, and numbers such as the ones Quinnipiac produced should hasten his departure.

According to the data, Booker would defeat Lautenberg 51-30 percent if the statewide Democratic primary were held in this current time period. Perhaps even more troubling for the senator is the fact that he trails Booker by more than 20 points even though his job approval is positive. Concerns about his age — Lautenberg will be 90 at the time of the next election – are clearly weighing upon the electorate.
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Poll: Alarm Bells for Lautenberg

Fairleigh Dickinson University, whose poll (Jan. 2-6; 700 registered New Jersey voters; 336 self-identified Democrats or leaning Democratic) we quoted earlier in the week pertaining to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election, now releases the US Senate portion of their data. For veteran Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D), the news can either be taken as being a bitter pill or simply a wake-up call.

Background

Lautenberg, who will be 90 years of age at the next election, came from the business world where he was the chairman and CEO of Automatic Data Processing, Inc. In 1982, using his vast personal wealth earned through years of having a major position within the company, Lautenberg ran for his first political office, that of United States Senate. He scored a 51-48 percent win over the better-known Rep. Millicent Fenwick (R-NJ-5), at the time a 72-year-old four-term congresswoman who was often seen smoking her trademark pipe. Lautenberg was easily re-elected twice, but then decided to retire from politics in 2000.

Less than two years later, when Sen. Bob Torricelli (D) met with scandal and appeared headed for defeat, the New Jersey Democratic leadership forced him to resign well after the 2002 primary. Armed with a favorable political ruling from a Democratic state Supreme Court, the party leaders successfully installed Lautenberg to replace Torricelli. He went on to save the seat for the Democrats that year, and was re-elected without significant challenge in 2008.
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Polling Updates: New Jersey, Virginia

Gov. Chris Christie

Gov. Chris Christie

New Jersey

Fairleigh Dickinson University surveyed the New Jersey electorate (Jan. 2-6; 700 registered New Jersey voters), testing Gov. Chris Christie (R) against all comers.

For starters, the governor’s job approval rating remains in the stratosphere, as it has since Hurricane Sandy hit the state. Voters almost immediately began communicating positive impressions of the way he coordinated delivering aid to assist those suffering from the natural disaster. According to the data, a whopping 73 percent of the respondents give Christie’s job performance a positive rating, including Continue reading >