The story is that it took him two hours after the Associated Press called the primary for Cory Booker to show up at McLoone’s Pier House because he was holed up in his office, unable to compose himself. It was only after he heard the media was leaving that he was able to pull himself together and join his own party while Senate nominee Cory Booker was delivering his victory speech on live TV from Newark.
But the big story, and what Pallone should really be upset about, is not that he lost a primary few thought he could win, but that he is now exposed as vulnerable for reelection in the 6th Congressional District. Pallone performed poorly in his Middlesex and Monmouth base.Numbers and graphics from Politico.
Pallone supporters could make the argument, and it is a fair one, that Pallone and Congressman Rush Holt doomed each other in Middlesex and Monmouth. We don’t have town by town numbers, but it is a safe bet that the support that both Holt and Pallone got in Middlesex, where they got 58% of the vote combined, came from the towns they represent in the House of Representatives. Similarly in Monmouth, where Holt represented much of the county until last year, the local congressmen combined for 62% of the vote over Booker, but cancelled each other out.
Unless a wealthy self-funding candidate emerges, it is unlikely a Republican could beat Pallone in 2014. Monmouth County has plenty of talented and worthy Republicans who could carry the Monmouth portion of the district, as Anna Little did in 2010, but no one who could carry the Middlesex portion with the possible exception of Middletown Committeeman Tony Fiore, who hails from Carteret. Middlesex County doesn’t have any Republicans who can beat Pallone. Chris Christie is the only Republican who has carried Middlesex in recent memory.
But a Democrat could beat Pallone in a primary next June.
Former Edison Mayor Jun Choi already has about $500K in a federal fundraising account. Former Monmouth County Chairman Victor Scudiery says he would like Hazlet business leader Cliff Moore, a candidate for Hazlet Township Committee this year, to run. “Tea Party Democrat” Mark Falzon tried to run a primary challenge against Pallone in 2010 but his petition was disqualified. Falzon can’t beat Pallone in a primary, but he could pull enough Bayshore Reagan Democrats away from Pallone to make Choi more viable and give the Bayshore Tea Party Group something productive to do next spring.