NJ Republicans Preemptively Strike Against Candidate Switch

Seeing a chance to knock of incumbent Democrat Robert Menendez, New Jersey Republicans are working to prevent the state’s Democrats from pulling a Torricelli.

With Robert Menendez’ U.S. Senate campaign under unexpected pressure, his Republican rivals are trying to prevent Democratic leaders from bumping him from the race and replacing him with another candidate. Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance (R-Hunterdon) and Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce (R-Morris) yesterday called on Gov. Jon Corzine and Democratic legislators to act quickly to strengthen a law preventing a political party from switching candidates within 48 days of Election Day.

Asked if he thinks Menendez, who is running as the appointed incumbent senator, will quit the race, DeCroce replied, “Bob Menendez has too big a head to stand down. He will fight to hold his position. I don’t think that will happen.”

Matt Miller, a Menendez campaign spokesman, said the candidate has no intention of dropping out of the race against state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R-Union). “I think this entire thing is just a Republican fantasy. It is really just the latest chapter in their smear campaign,” Miller said.

Given that NJ Democrats managed to ignore state law to replace Bob Torricelli in 2002, it’s hardly a “smear” to worry that it could happen again.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Tano says:

    Kinda hard to make the claim that they “ignored state law” when the lawsuit to prevent it failed in court.

    Anyway, this is just so obviously a political stunt (clever though). There is no serious thought that the Dems would have any need to replace Menendez – but it is a way to get the issue in the press for a few days.

    Maybe they should be careful what they wish for though. Stories out yesterday about Kean Jr. accepting gobs of cash from all the executives of some company on the same day he went to bat for that company. Maybe the GOP might need to consider replacing him!

  2. James Joyner says:

    Tano: NJ state law was quite explicit: Parties could not change to a new candidate within X days of the the election. Even though Toricelli dropped out well after X, the state Supreme Court decided that it would be unfair to NJ voters not to give them a choice and made an exception.