No hidden signals in U.S. Senate primaries

Robert Menendez and Tom Kean, Jr. emerged from their respective primaries without any signs of pending doom. Kean won 76% — actually one percent better than Clifford Case did against an unknown and underfinanced conservative challenger in 1972, the last year a New Jersey Republican won a seat in the United States Senate. Conservative John Ginty ran behind the 30% Dr. James Walter Ralph won against Case, and fell far short of the numbers that propelled conservatives like Jeffrey Bell (1978) and Bret Schundler (2001) to victory. Kean actually won the highest percentage of any contested GOP U.S. Senate primary in more than fifty years. It is not unreasonable to question why 16% of New Jersey Democrats would prefer a mentally ill man who, until recently, lived in a group home to represent them in the United States Senate over the incumbent. But Menendez’s 84% was just four percentage points behind the 88% that Jon Corzine received in the 2005 gubernatorial primary. James Kelly won 27,500 votes against Menendez, not much difference from the 28,108 votes cast for Kelly or the third place finisher last year, Francis Tenaglio.

No hidden signals in U.S. Senate primaries