Winners and Losers: Week of The Announcement

WINNERS

Frank Lautenberg

The 89-year-old Democrat weathered a hard-knock Paterson upbringing, WWII, cancer, the Tea Party, and Cory Booker gnawing at his heels. Today, the senator from New Jersey announced his decision not to run again in 2014, and did so in classy fashion, going out as the U.S. Senate’s last surviving WWII vet. “Throughout his time in the Senate, Frank has fought tirelessly for workers, veterans, members of our military and their families, and immigrants, and he continues to make extraordinary contributions to our nation’s safety, and the health and welfare of our citizens,” said President Barack Obama.

Jon Runyan

Finally getting credit for winning by 9% in a district President Barack Obama won by 4%, the 3rd District Republican congressman made the “Likely GOP” column in Sabato Crystal Ball. That’s a jump from last year, when Runyan spent most of his time in the “Lean GOP” list in most pundit rankings.  

Chris Christie

The Republican governor made a successful three-day campaign swing through California and leads rival state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-18) by 42 points in this week’s Monmouth University poll.

Frank Pallone

He landed the 2014 U.S. Senate endorsement of former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.). That’s the good news. The bad news is another less than scintillating competent Central Jersey congressman is also interested in a U.S. Senate run. Pallone and U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-12) may cancel each other out before either of them gains traction against fan favorite Cory Booker.

Barack Obama

The President has a 60% approval rating in New Jersey, according to this week’s Monmouth University poll, only the second time Obama has cracked 60% in NJ.

LOSERS

Cory Booker

Respected financial wiz Samantha Maltzman bailed on Team Booker this week, ostensibly burned out on politics.

Eileen Kufahl

The Birdsall employee pleaded guilty this week to a fourth-degree charge of making prohibited corporation contributions through employees before Superior Court Judge Wendel E. Daniels in Ocean County.

Ronald Salahuddin

The former Newark Deputy Mayor for Public Safety was sentenced this week to one year and one day in prison for conspiring to commit extortion by using his official position to steer demolition work to co-defendant Sonnie L. Cooper, a Newark businessman, and obtain contributions to organizations favored by Newark officials, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced. 

Seth Grossman

The movement conservative running for governor against Chris Christie must head into battle without his old ally Steve Lonegan at his side.

Barbara Buono

The resolute Democratic candidate was in the back seat when a car accident this week sent her to the hospital to be treated for minor cuts to her face. Buono was back on the campaign trail the next day. But a Monmouth University poll shows her trailing Christie by 42 points as powerful Democrats like Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo and state Sen. Brian P. Stack (D-33) openly parade their love for Christie.  The car accident and her citation for not wearing a seatbelt became headlines instead of her shots at Christie over guns and AshBritt. To make matters worse for Buono, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) ongoing headline woes, and the developing 2014 U.S. Senate race in the wake of Lautenberg’s announced retirement indicate an appetite for Senate – not gubernatorial – politics. On the good side, Buono did land the endorsement this week of the Union County Democrats, a final organizational nod from a party county committee.

"Historically, the media has had two caricatures of Republicans. We are either stupid or evil."
—U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)