The political world was abuzz yesterday when Fox News Host Geraldo Rivera announced that he is “truly contemplating” a run for United States Senate in 2014. But would he actually be a formidable challenger to either incumbent Senator Frank Lautenberg or Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who has already filed papers to challenge Lautenberg in the primary?
In short, yes.
New Jersey is as true blue of a state as they come; Obama and Sen. Bob Menendez both won re-election by double-digits last November despite Superstorm Sandy ravaging the state’s coastline the previous week. While it is home to one of the nation’s most popular Republicans in Governor Chris Christie, there are not many other Republicans capable of winning statewide in the Garden State. Former Governor and EPA Head Christie Todd Whitman, arguably the best known of the possible candidates, has made no indication that she is interested in running ever again for political office.
An unofficial poll of potential 2014 GOP candidates on the conservative blog SaveJersey.com includes frequently talked-about names like Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and 2012 nominee Joe Kyrillos, but all of them would admittedly have their work cut out for them if they do run, as none of them have the name ID necessary to take on a Democratic juggernaut in the form of either Lautenberg or Booker.
The opening for the GOP – specifically Rivera, should he choose to run – is the potential for a bloody primary between Lautenberg and Booker in 2014. While Lautenberg is 89 years old, the octogenarian has given no sign that he plans on retiring, and the primary could ultimately divide the Democratic Party bad enough that it would suffer in the general election.
Unlike the Republicans mentioned above, Rivera already has the name ID he needs to run as a result of his decades in the New York media. He is one of the few outspoken Republicans in the media, frequently tweeting about his support of the NRA and Second Amendment rights. And while he may be a moderate and a bit eccentric, it is New Jersey we’re talking about – the state that gave us the Jersey Shore and who made Christie one of the most popular governors in the country.
“I figure at my age, if I’m gonna do it, I gotta do it,” Rivera announced on his radio show yesterday. And at this point, he may just be our best chance of winning the seat after all.