Response by Rick Thigpen
Congressman Menendez is already off to a solid start in 2006. His name recognition has already increased significantly and he is about to be sworn-in to the United States Senate. As an incumbent member of the Senate, he will very soon be well known by most New Jerseyans and, more important, he will be judged on his job performance, not by his opponent's rhetoric. That will place him in a fairly strong position come campaign time. His destiny will be in his own hands.
His situation will improve even more as the voters come to realize that he is not running against the state's most popular former Governor. Senator Kean will have his hands full running against a sharp and seasoned incumbent Senator while he is burdened with defending an unpopular President and the unpopular policies of the Republican majority in Washington. Poor Tom, watch him dodge Bush, Frist, Delay, Alito, the whole bunch. Senator Menendez will be in a commanding position in this race by Labor Day if not sooner.
Comment by Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind Academic Associate, Rick Thigpen (J.D., Columbia University Law School). Rick is a former Executive Director of the New Jersey Democratic Party and now a partner in The Strategy Group and is a campaign coordinator for the Essex County Democratic Party. Rick Thigpen, Esq. can be reached at (609) 394-0888.