Why NJ hasn’t elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate in 5 decades (Opinion)
Although we've had a couple Republican appointments who have served in the United States Senate over the past few decades, it's been nearly 50 years since New Jersey voters sent a Republican to the Senate.
The last candidate to get the nod from the voters was Sen. Clifford Case, who won in 1972. He was so disliked in the Republican party though that he was defeated in the primary when he ran for re-election in 1978. Since then, GOP candidates have not fared so well. NJ has trended Blue over the decades for sure and many working and middle class voters have lost confidence that the Republican Party represents their interests.
Voters took a shot with the GOP by electing Chris Christie as governor in 2009 and again in 2013, but he proved to be ineffective and focused almost exclusively on his own national ambitions, which as we know failed anyway. The real tragedy is that with the growing Democratic majority in Trenton and in Washington among the New Jersey delegation, we're only hearing one side of the conversation. The GOP is no longer an effective opposition to the Democrats. Look how the GOP in our legislature totally caved and crumbled, allowing Gov. Phil Murphy to run over your economic and civil liberty. Look how they still to this day defend the Republican gas tax, which goes up every year. Look how so many of the GOP candidates this year can't say a nice word about the incumbent President.
This despite the fact that Donald Trump is the exact kind of Republican New Jersey needs. Tough-talking, tough-acting, serious and not a career politician. New Jersey GOP leaders tend to be elitists themselves and are far more concerned about the power, perks and prestige of holding office than they are about helping NJ families.
The good news is that the GOP can only rise from here — they are literally at rock bottom. Rik Mehta is the GOP nominee taking on incumbent U.S. Sen. Cory Booker. Rik is a thoughtful, experienced family man who is far from a career politician. Rik understands that the way to raise revenue for the government is not by raising taxes, it's about opening up the economy to allow businesses and families to succeed. He's got an uphill battle for sure, but he's got the right attitude and aptitude to make it work. Check out his campaign.
Will this be the year New Jersey reverses the trend? We won't get another shot until 2024 when Bob Menendez has to face the voters once again.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill’s own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talking’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.