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Wednesday, October 02, 2002

The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that the state's Democratic Party can place a substitute candidate on the ballot for the U.S. Senate. The ruling was unanimous 7-0 decision; the Court is comprised of four Democrats, two Republicans, and one independent.

No word from the Republicans as of yet, who have suggested they might appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if the state's Supreme Court decided against them.

This is obviously great news for the Democrats, even if the Supreme Court steps in and overturns the state decision, which I don't think is likely. A Democratic rallying cry that sounds something like "The Supreme Court already picked a President, we're not letting them choose our Senator for us" could be a pretty effective incentive to boost voter turnout among Democrats in the state. Either way, the salience of the Torricelli ethics issue will be reduced.

I didn't mean to sound like a partisan in last night's column, though I imagine it crept into my analysis. To elucidate further on the foreign policy issue and the "Bush coattails" issue, I suppose I should have mentioned that Bush's approval ratings would likely help the chances of Republican Senate hopefuls and incumbents in most of the seats in play. New Jersey is one of the few states with a Senate seat considered to be in play where an association with the Bush administration could be more a liability than an asset. Most Democratic challengers (and vulnerable incumbents, for that matter) are trying to use their idiosyncracies, personalities, and records as a way to overcome a Republican trend in their states. Only in New Jersey are Democrats seeking to "nationalize" the election to this extent.


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