First, New Jersey. I cannot be objective about this one.
Joe Kyrillos is my friend, and I am extremely proud of that. He is one of the finest, most ethical, and most competent individuals I have met in public life. As a New Jersey state senator during the Whitman administration, Joe’s authorship of the Business Employment Incentive Program and the Business Relocation Assistant Grant Program earned him a place as the most accomplished legislator on economic development issues over the past half century.
Joe is also an outstanding citizen and family man. He and his wife, Susan, are exemplary parents and civic minded individuals – true role models for New Jersey and America. In short, Joe was born to be a United States Senator.
The problem for Joe is that he is running for the U.S. Senate in very blue New Jersey, where no Republican has won an election for a New Jersey U.S. Senate seat since Clifford Case in 1972. In a year when the incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama is certain to carry New Jersey by a wide margin, the odds against Joe are overwhelming.
What makes this so disheartening is the presence of GOP U.S. Senate candidates in other states who are thorough incompetents; to wit, Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana. Let us not mince words – these men are dolts. In both these states, and in many others, Joe Kyrillos would be a certain winner.
Because of my friendship with Joe, I will not make a formal prediction of tomorrow night’s race. Let me confess that my heart is certainly with Joe.
Now to the other U.S. Senate races. At present, Democrats hold 53 seats, and the Republicans 47. I predict a net Republican gain of two seats, resulting in a United States Senate of 51 Democrats and 49 Republicans.
Republicans will lose three seats they currently hold: 1) In Massachusetts, Republican incumbent U.S. Senator Scott Brown will lose to Elizabeth Warren; 2) the aforesaid GOP candidate Richard Mourdock, who ousted incumbent Indiana U.S. Senator Richard Lugar in the primary will lose to Democratic challenger Joe Donnelly; and 3) Maine Independent Democrat Angus King is certain to win the seat being vacated by retiring Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe.
The GOP will pick up five seats currently held by the Democrats: 1) In Montana, Republican challenger Denny Rehberg will defeat incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Jon Tester; 2) In Nebraska, Republican Deb Fischer will win the seat being vacated by retiring Democratic incumbent U.S. Senator Ben Nelson; 3) In North Dakota, Republican Rick Berg will win the seat being vacated by retiring Democratic incumbent U.S. Senator Kent Conrad; 4) in Wisconsin, former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson will win the seat being vacated by retiring Democratic incumbent U.S. Senator Herb Kohl; and 5) in my “Upset Special”, in Pennsylvania, Republican challenger Tom Smith will defeat incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Casey.
Net – net: The U.S. Senate sworn in this January will contain 51 Democrats, 49 Republicans.
Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush. Region 2 EPA consists of the states of New York and New Jersey, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and eight federally recognized Indian nations. Under former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman, he served as Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission. He currently serves on the political science faculty of Monmouth University.