Senate candidates keep a low profile on primary day

With Super Tuesday upon us, the U.S. Senate candidates are laying low.

Incumbent Democrat Frank Lautenberg, who has refused to pick a horse so far in the Democratic primary, will be tending to Senate business in Washington today. Lautenberg had considered coming up to New Jersey for a victory party — for the Giants. But the Senate doesn’t plan to break and he’ll stay in Washington.

Lautenberg campaign manager Brendan Gill said that he’s not sure whether the Senator will endorse a Democrat after Super Tuesday.

On the Republican end, businesswoman Anne Evans Estabrook is listed as a member of John McCain’s New York, New Jersey and Connecticut Finance Committee. But her campaign is sounding a neutral note.

“She has contributed to Sen. McCain because she believes he’s a good Republican, an American war hero. She also believes that Mitt Romney, coming from a business background, has a lot to offer as well,” said Estabrook campaign manager Mark Duffy. “She’s going to be out there pumping up Republicans to go out and vote for the choices that we have.”

Estabrook will focus mostly on her own campaign today, and will appear on NJN’s election night coverage later tonight.

Also on NJN tonight will be Republican Senate candidate Joe Pennacchio, a former Giuliani backer who recently threw his support behind McCain. Pennacchio, a state Senator and dentist, doesn’t have any plans to help McCain get out the vote today, however.

“Right now I’m about to put somebody’s crown in. It’s a regular day,” he said.

For U.S. Senate candidate Murray Sabrin, this is a transition day. After announcing his Senate bid last month, Sabrin has concentrated mostly on being a surrogate for presidential candidate Ron Paul around the state. Now, instead of focusing on being Paul’s chief New Jersey spokesman, Sabrin will focus on his own campaign.

While acknowledging that Paul doesn’t have much of a shot at pulling off a victory here tonight, Sabrin said that his message had made its way into the rhetoric of the mainstream Republican candidates.

“They’re talking about less taxes, less spending and regulation. I read a paper today and John McCain’s domestic policies sound like they come out of Ron Paul’s platform,” he said. “All I know is the message is the key, and with other candidates adopting his message, that’s a sign of victory.”

After teaching a finance class at Ramapo College this afternoon, Sabrin will head over to his Senate campaign headquarters in Jersey City tonight, where he’ll work the phones on behalf of his candidate.

Senate candidates keep a low profile on primary day