Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Diane Allen for U.S. Senate

It's been just a few months since the end of the bitter U.S. Senate race between Senator Robert Menendez and State Senator Thomas Kean Jr., but some are already looking to 2008's Senate election where Senator Frank Lautenberg, now 83-years old, plans to stand for re-election to a fifth term.

We personally think Frank needs to retire (again) or be retired.
But who is up to the challenge to remove him?

Given that the GOP's one big name -- Chris Christie -- has already said he won't run for the GOP nod and Tom Kean Jr.'s poor performance against an ethically-challenged (and fairly unpopular) Menendez, the state GOP isn't left with many high-profile names to toss out to the voters. Mercer County Assemblyman Bill Baroni (a moderate Republican) and Warren County Assemblyman Mike Dougherty (a conservative) have both publicly noted that they would be interested in running. But no one has heard of them and unless they decide to quit their jobs tomorrow and spend the next 18 months campaigning door-to-door, they don't have a chance in knocking Lautenberg off.

What the GOP needs is Diane Allen, the State Senator from Burlington County who ran for the 2002 GOP U.S. Senate nomination (but lost). Since then, she has been content to stick with her State Senate seat (although in 2003 was talked about as a possible candidate for governor against the ever-sinking Jim McGreevey).
Well, we think its time for Senator Allen to think statewide again.

Why? Here are a few reasons:

1) She has name recognition. Although not well known throughout the state, she does have significantly more name recognition north to south than either Baroni or Dougherty. She did run a statewide primary campaign a few years ago -- and some people will remember her name from that. She is also a fairly well-known quantity in South Jersey, one part of the state that the GOP certainly needs to pick up more votes if they ever want to win statewide again. Name recognition will be important here, given that Lautenberg has been in the public eye for the last 25-years and won four statewide elections already. Diane is the best GOP candidate we can think of who can seriously take on Lautenberg's name.

2) She's a moderate. We are big believers that moderate Republicans can win statewide office in New Jersey. Voters are tired of high taxes, corruption, big government, etc. These are issues that the GOP should own in New Jersey. Social issues and softer topics, including abortion, gay rights, the environment, etc., are things that most New Jersey voters take a more moderate stance on. We need a candidate that can take that stance and have the credibility to back it up. That's why we need someone like Diane -- a fiscal conservative and a more socially moderate candidate.

3) She's well spoken, a good debater and has camera appeal. Diane spent many years on camera as a news reporter and anchor. She speaks well. She has a public presence that many state legislators never acquire. She can debate the issues. All of this is important given that Lautenberg is a lousy speaker and can't debate his way out of a paper bag and that we need someone who can really shine against him.

4) She's smart. From what we can tell she has a great grasp of the issues important to New Jersey voters. For those issues she needs to brush up on, we have no doubt she can do so and do so quickly. She runs her own business, has been a successful news anchor and reporter and has been successful in the State Senate. She's got the brains to win this campaign and be a great U.S. Senator.

5) She's a woman. We won't lie -- we think gender is very important for this race, especially if the Democrats have a woman running for president. Republicans usually have a tough time bridging the gender gap. We think Diane can make up serious ground here.

6) She will appeal to younger voters. For many of the reasons listed above, she will appeal to a broad range of voters, including the very important 30-and under group.

So that's our initial opinion. We'll be offering more shortly. But for now, there is just one important question to ask:

Senator Allen, will you please consider running for the U.S. Senate?

We're ready, willing and able to come work for you and make your campaign a success.

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