Earlier in the cycle, Democrats had hoped to target three House Republican incumbents in New Jersey: NJ-07's Mike Ferguson, NJ-03's Jim Saxton, and NJ-02's Frank LoBiondo. With the retirements of Ferguson and Saxton, Democrats have a solid shot of picking up both seats with the candidacies of Linda Stender and John Adler. For a while, it looked possible that state Senator Jeff Van Drew would round out the trio by challenging the entrenched LoBiondo in his D+4 district. Alas, that wasn't meant to be:
State Sen. Jeff Van Drew won't challenge incumbent Frank LoBiondo for a congressional seat in November, Van Drew said this afternoon.
Van Drew was elected to the Senate in November after serving three terms in the state Assembly. [...]
"We are approaching the most complex and challenging budget in the state's history and for that reason, I'm going to stay where I am for now, although I will clearly say I look forward to the day when I will run for the United States Congress," Van Drew said in a telephone interview this afternoon.
Van Drew said it's possible he could challenge LoBiondo in 2010.
This is the safer move for Van Drew -- fresh from beating an incumbent GOP state Senator last November, another bid against an incumbent so soon after his last race might have rubbed some voters the wrong way. However, it does look promising that Van Drew will be willing to make a real race of this seat in 2010. I look forward to his candidacy.
Meanwhile, the promising campaign of Rabbi Dennis Shulman against NJ-05's ultra-conservative Scott Garrett leaves me hopeful that we could see three pick-up opportunities in the Garden State, after all.