It significantly improved the Republican Party’s performance over that of the last GOP U.S. Senate campaign in New Jersey.
State Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) lost to Bob Menendez (D-Dominican Republic) last fall by a 18.5-point margin (58.4% to 39.9%). Lonegan fell short last night by approximately 11-points (55% to 44%) accordingly to the most recent count.
You could argue that this comparison is apples and oranges. Menendez was (1) an incumbent (2) running in a presidential cycle where (3) key GOP voting regions (notably Kyrillos’s Jersey Shore district) were still overwhelmed by the immediate impact of Hurricane Sandy. Fair enough.
Still, while Bob Menendez is a notoriously tough campaigner, he’s certainly no Cory Booker in the charisma or celebrity departments…
We’ll continue to analyze the implications of last night’s vote as we jump right into the 2014 cycle, Save Jerseyans. We don’t intend to give Senator-elect Booker any breathing room.
Here’s a partial short-list of possible U.S. Candidates we’ve discussed in the past to get the conversation started; however, with Mayor Lonegan’s loss, the field is likely to expand in the short term as various N.J. GOP’ers consider their chances. Bio-tech millionaire John Crowley (R-Princeton), football tycoon Woody Johnson (R-Jets) and state Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) come to mind.
The best recent U.S. Senate performance in recent memory for a Republican? Jon Corzine bested the late Bob Franks by only 3-points (50.1% to 47.1%) in 2000.
Interestingly (and depressingly), Cory Booker’s solid win is actually very “average” by New Jersey standards as Monmouth University’s Patrick Murray pointed out this morning.
Going back to the 1988 election, the average outcome has been 53% for the Dem and 44% for the Republican. More recent examples: Menendez overcame Tom Kean, Jr. in 2006 by 9-points (53.3% to 44.3%), which was actually the best performance by a GOP Senate challenger anywhere in 2006. The late Frank Lautenberg beat Doug Forrester by 11 points (54% to 44%) in 2002 and later Dick Zimmer by 14-points (56% to 42%) in 2008.