New Jersey’s two most competitive House seats on GOP death list

The 3rd and 7th Congressional District races seem too close to call, but a list that has circulated around the blogosphere indicates that Republicans have given them up for dead.

U.S. News & World Report editor Paul Bedard broke the story yesterday, publishing information from a leaked memo from Republican operatives that they considered a “death list.” It ranks races one a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most likely for a Democratic takeover.

The story caught fire across the internet, on sites both partisan and non-partisan, including Politico, Daily Kos and New Jersey’s own Blue Jersey. On the list, the 3rd District seat of retiring Rep. Jim Saxton (R-Mount Holly) and 7th District seat of outgoing Rep. Mike Ferguson (R-Warren) are both ranked 5 – in other words “likely to go unless significant turn of events.”

Incumbent Rep. Scott Garrett’s (R-Wantage) 5th District seat is ranked as a 2, which denotes “leaning Republican, if there’s a wave, some could be in trouble.”

If true, the Myers classification could lend credence to a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee poll released earlier this week that shows State Sen. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill) beating Republican Medford Mayor Chris Myers in the 3rd District by eight points, although Republicans have cast doubt on the DCCC’s polling methods. The latest DCCC poll was conducted between October 15th and 16th. An independent poll released one week prior showed the race in a statistical dead heat, with Myers leading Adler by one point.

But it doesn’t exactly square with the National Republican Congressional Committee’s decision to run new ads in the 3rd District, which was reported by the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza.

Myers Campaign Manager Chris Russell didn’t venture to guess why the Republican memo considered his race dead, but disputed it.

Also, the Politico story noted that a GOP operative said that the two New Jersey races may be “salvageable.”

“This is a dead heat race. Has been for weeks. Bogus DCCC polls, leaked memos and conflicting new stories aside, I think the NRCC’s decision to buy advertising in this district in the final two weeks tells you all you need to know about where this race stands,” he said.

Politicker.com’s James Pindell ranks both the 3rd and 7th District seats as “leans Democratic” in the Pindell Report.

New Jersey’s two most competitive House seats on GOP death list