When Joe Kyrillos formally launched his campaign for U.S. Senate, Save Jerseyans, the veteran legislator certainly hoped to find himself in a different position than he does today. There’s no use spinning the obvious… my job is to give you the straight dope from a conservative perspective.
Here it is:
The RCP average hasn’t featured a fresh public poll in over one week, but the news it contains is daunting. He trails the incumbent, Bob Menendez, by anywhere from 14 to 22 points over the last month. In fact, Kyrillos has only cracked 40% in one public poll. Politicos will debate whether the campaign’s decision to avoid throwing punches until the very end made any difference in a race where Kyrillos’s name id barely improved from start to finish.
The mainstream media barely feigned interest as a result (though you could argue they’re complicit in keeping voters in the dark); they’ve even refused to entertain an alleged sex scandal involving Kyrillos’s opponent. Journalistic malpractice? On this point, absolutely! But who’s listening?
To make matters even worse, Hurricane Sandy struck Kyrillos’s Jersey Shore political base with devastating fury and forced major diversions from the trail.
Two of six Monday scheduled campaign stops are related to storm relief efforts, and many of the state party’s core supporters in Shore counties are displaces. Recovery is priority number one for all residents, to be sure, but let’s be frank about its impact (we are 24 hours from a general election): GOP challengers running against Dem incumbents in 2012 would rather discuss the economy than compete with images of their rivals stoically inspecting storm damage beside the state’s most popular Republican.
That’s how the cookie crumbles, folks. Kyrillos backers will gallantly push over the next days and a half to maximize the NJ GOP’s showing on Election Day. Phone banks are humming in multiple counties, acting simultaneously as the backbone of Kyrillos’s underdog campaign and as a sort of “dress rehearsal” for Chris Christie’s reelection bid next fall. Optimism hasn’t completely evaporated among volunteers still enjoying the residual glow of their 2009 triumph. For them, this fight is about more than winning. It’s about building a state party worthy of going toe-to-toe with NJ Democrats both now and in the future.
Handicapping Tuesday’s results is perhaps less consequential than predicting what the discussion will be on Wednesday morning.
If Kyrillos prevails, Dick Morris will have been right and the Republican Party will celebrate a landslide not seen since before your Blogger-in-Chief was born (wrap your mind around that one), eclipsing anything we’re predicting here at Save Jersey. Kyrillos would emerge as a new GOP rockstar with considerable clout behind Trenton and his Monmouth base. Not necessarily a coequal of Christie in terms of power, but certainly a new force to be reckoned with if you’re trying to do political business in the Garden State.
If he loses, pundits and insiders alike will weigh whether the Monmouth pol is a potential candidate for U.S. Senate in 2014 or even governor in 2017… and immediately shift their focus to any possible 2013 implications/lessons to be gleaned.
But enough of that for now, Save Jerseyans; it’s all post fodder for another time coming very soon. Vote today or tomorrow! And if you want to thank Senator Kyrillos for his efforts and celebrate Election Night with kindred spirits, supporters will gather at Nanina’s in the Park, located at 540 Mill Street in Belleville beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday evening.