[Correction: an earlier version of this post stated that Jeff Bell had bracketed with Steve Lonegan in Ocean County; Bell nevertheless failed to file bracketing requests.]
Primary Day is finally upon us, Save Jerseyans, and the next week leading up to June 3rd presents a final opportunity for primary candidates on both sides of the aisle to make their final arguments to prospective voters.
That task has proven more than a little difficult in this year’s U.S. Senate primary given the lack of financial resources and party leadership interest allotted to taking on Cory Booker (D-Twitter). The four GOP hopefuls – Jeff Bell, Brian Goldberg, Rich Pezzullo and Murray Sabrin – have adopted different strategies to deal with these harsh realities.
All four men are using social media with varying degrees of success. They’re focusing on state issues as much as national ones in order to try and find media attention (e.g. Sabrin vs. Sweeney and Pezzullo vs. the 10-round magazine law). Bell didn’t even compete for county endorsements, choosing instead to lean on a few national GOP friends for endorsements from familiar faces and unleashing a small yet hyper-targeted dose of direct mail down the stretch.
Who has the edge?
Undoubtedly it’s Brian Goldberg simply because he’s got a clear plurality of county “lines” in his column (10 of 21), including Republican vote rich Ocean where, thanks to the tough CD3 House primary between Tom MacArthur and Steve Lonegan, Goldberg is likely to be the unintended beneficiary of a higher-than-elsewhere turnout.
Goldberg’s institutional advantage would matter a lot less if any of the other contenders boasted significant stockpiles of available cash with which to reap votes in undeclared GOP counties like Cape May and Morris, but given the fact that all four men had less than $65k COH combined as of April 1st, it doesn’t seem very likely that anyone will be able to capitalize notwithstanding some negative press coverage over the past week.
That does not mean this race is decided by any means. For many of the same reasons set forth above, this year’s U.S. Senate contest carries a potential for unpredictability that’s unusual in major statewide contests. Add a super-low turnout into the mix and… well… it’s always possible that I’ll have a very interesting result to analyze for next Wednesday morning.
Who’s earned your support with one week left to go? Vote below, then give us your best argument in the comments section….