In a new editorial, the New York Post notes the odds are stacked against New Jersey's Jeff Bell, the Republican challenger to incumbent Democratic senator Cory Booker:
Booker has a war chest of $2.9 million, against a mere $76,000 for Bell. Booker is a Democratic incumbent running in a mostly blue state where Democratic voters outnumber Republicans by 700,000. And according to a recent Rassmussen poll, 39 percent of New Jerseyans don’t even know who the heck Jeff Bell is.
All Bell has going for him is his conviction, which is that government is making it harder for working people to support their families.
In short, he’s a free-market, traditional values, pro-immigration conservative who thinks its high time someone took this message to the people of New Jersey.
The Post adds that on several issues of the day, Bell has "sharp differences" with Booker that give voters in New Jersey a "clear choice." It's clear the editors would prefer Bell.
The former Reagan speechwriter and 1978 GOP Senate nominee (Bell defeated incumbent Clifford Case in the primary but lost the general to Democrat Bill Bradley) is a long-shot, but not as long as it might have seemed. Booker rose to fame as the amiable mayor of Newark, with a loyal Twitter following and a friendly rivalry with Republican governor Chris Christie. Elected in a special election last year to fill the late Frank Lautenberg's seat, Booker might look secure in deep blue New Jersey.
But one poll, which prompted the Post editorial, found Booker under 50 percent and leading Bell, who is relatively unknown, by just 13 points:
According to the poll, 25 percent say they have a strongly favorable view of Booker, while 16 percent say they have a strongly unfavorable view. While both Booker and Bell do very well with voters of their own parties, according to Rasmussen, "the two are nearly tied among voters not affiliated with either major political party."