Jim Geraghty, primary political prognosticator over at NRO's Campaign Spot, digs up 13 races where Republican challengers are underfunded, unrecognized, rarely mentioned, and given no chance . . . and may just win anyway.
New Jersey's CD-12 makes #3 on the list, as uber-liberal Rush Holt's hold on its Congressional seat (first won by less than 2,000 votes, then secured by a Democratic legislature via gerrymandering in 2000)may, for the first time in over a decade, may be in jeopardy:
Scott Sipprelle vs. Rush Holt, New Jersey’s 12th District.
Reasons the challenger should have no chance: Holt, elected in 1998, won 62 percent of the vote in 2008 and usually performs around that level.
Reasons the challenger has a chance: For some reason, the DNC felt the need to run ads defending Holt’s vote for the health-care bill. Sipprelle — a Princeton-based venture capitalist — had $490,000 in cash on hand as of June 30 and has committed to match at least the first $1 million in donations to his campaign. New Jersey was a reliably Democratic state until Chris Christie’s win last year; now Obama’s approval rating is even with his disapproval rating — 47–47 in Quinnipiac — and Holt remains one of the most liberal members of Congress. Christie won four of the five counties whose parts make up Holt’s district.
And that last line's the key. Most of Holt's district is in Middlesex and Monmouth counties; how did they change from November 2008 to November 2010? A 2009 election night analysis:
Well, Mommouth went for John McCain in 2008, but just barely:
Republican - McCain 160,433 51%
Democrat - Obama 148,737 48%
And how did the electorate shift in last night's governor's race? Can you say...dramatically?
Republican - Christie/Guadagno 128,328 62.19%
Democrat - Corzine/Weinberg 64,315 31.17%
Now let's check out Middlesex, whose shifts might have been even more dramatic:
First, the 2008 results:
Democrat - Barack Obama 193,812 61%
Republican - John McCain 123,695 38.8%
One year later:
Democrat - Jon Corzine 75,200 44.21%
Republican - Chris Christie 81,947 48.17%
The tide is turning. And how is Rush Holt reacting? Like most Democrats this election season - by insulting (here and here), and in some cases, physically fighting with his (female) constituents. And by outright lying about his opponent by ascribing false positions to him.
And as far as one position that matters much to his constituents, the Ground Zero mosque (the death toll from CD-12 was quite high)? Holt has been mum, but the fact he was one of only three Congressman at Obama's Ramadan dinner where the president gave the mosque his explicit endorsement, speaks more than the cowardly congressman from Jersey ever will, apparently.
Holt is following the Democratic 2010 election model to a "T": Hide your positions, lie about the opposition, and insult Americans who don't agree with you.
How's that gonna work out? As well as it will for the rest of this Congress from Hell...
I'll bring you a poll on CD-12 as soon as I can find one...