Running from the Base

New Jersey Senate candidate Tom Kean reiterated his support for federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research during a trip to Israel.  The comments are sure to add fuel to the fire, i.e. the John Ginty campaign, that is now burning the ties between Kean and New Jersey’s conservatives.  He has apparently decided to dismiss the importance of the state’s conservatives.  Not only has he taken positions in opposition to them, but he has actually gone around the world bragging about them.  For the primary, this is unlikely to make much difference.

Primaries, though, especially Republican primaries in New Jersey, do not choose Senators.  Barring a miracle, Tom Kean will be the Republican nominee for US Senate.  It may take a miracle of equal magnitude, though, to make him a Senator.

New Jersey Republicans, both conservatives and liberals, have a well-documented history of costing each other elections.  Either side blames the other, but the long and short of it is that the GOP has enough trouble fighting the Democrats without fighting against itself.  The New Jersey Republican Party has decided to permanently become the other Democrat Party, constantly frustrating the very people that it absolutely must be able to count on to have any hope of winning.

Tom Coburn would have an extremely difficult time getting elected state-wide in New Jersey.  So did Doug Forrester.  So did Bret Schundler.  The NJ GOP needs to get its act together and by having some unifying principles.  What those are can be open to debate, but for years now, the GOP label has been completely meaningless in the state.  Until that changes, Republicans will continue to get excited about candidates who just end up losing in November.  Expect to see Sen. Menendez in Washington for quite a while.

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