A Bramnick-Kean showdown for U.S. Senate?
Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick took another step last week to further his ambition to secure the Republican nomination for United States Senator in 2014. In the wake of the announcement by Senator Frank Lautenberg that he will not seek re-election next year, Bramnick hosted a party at his 21st District home last week. Sources remarked on the large contingent of members of the press that were present.
Connecting to the press isn’t the only thing Bramnick is working on. Some remarked on the number of Democrats at the Bramnick party, and it looks like the Republican Assembly leader is trying to find a compromise with Democrats pushing a raft of anti-Second Amendment legislation through the Assembly.
Unfortunately for the former city councilman and seasoned trial lawyer, Bramnick faces potential competition from his neighbor and running mate, Senator Tom Kean Jr. Word is that both men want the nomination for U.S. Senate. To combat Kean’s positive name ID, Bramnick hired consultant Mike DuHaime, who handled Chris Christie’s victorious primary and general election efforts in 2009 - and who is set to repeat that performance this year. This might give Bramnick the inside track on a gubernatorial appointment, should Lautenberg leave office before his term ends. With the Senator’s age and health against him, this is a real possibility, and a very real concern for Kean, who was the Republican nominee in 2006, ultimately losing the general election to Bob Menendez 53.3 percent to 44.3 percent.
Already the sniping has begun, with some who might be considered Kean allies circulating some quotes by Bramnick that pit him squarely against the social conservatives who count for so much in a state-wide Republican primary. Potential movement conservative candidates for the Senate nomination include Senator Mike Doherty and Americans for Prosperity (AFP) State Director Steve Lonegan.
2014 will be the first statewide election for an open seat in New Jersey since the candidacy of Barack Obama drained most moderates from the GOP and the resulting Tea Party movement cemented the primacy of conservatives in the Republican Party. It will be a very important benchmark to the conservative movement in this state and the country. Will movement conservatives reach an accommodation with an establishment Republican like Bramnick or will they decide to take charge and elect one of their own?
Barring an early resignation by Lautenberg, movement conservatives have some time to sort out just who is who. CNJ will be taking the lead in this and will be providing in-depth comprehensive research on the candidates for the Republican nomination for United States Senate in 2014. Stay tuned for some very interesting and informative reading.