The Good Is That New Jersey Was a Race to Watch

The Good Is That New Jersey Was a Race to Watch

Editorial: Phew, there wasn’t a red wave. But it’s too soon to exhale. That’s the good news. The bad news is that, with its six points, New Jersey became the first state to be projected to come in third in the Senate race. The bad news is that the Democrat Chris Smith is in third place among the Democrats and, as we saw Saturday, he may not have had any other option but to run in a state where he’s in a tight battle against incumbent Senator Bob Menendez. The good news is that he did so by winning the votes of the independent voters in the Democratic primary.

The bad is that this was a race to watch, a contest that could well be decided by the independents, whom Smith won 52 percent to 38 percent.

In a contest like this, the margin of victory could go a long way toward determining the outcome the day after.

There’s nothing certain about New Jersey. A contest like this could go a long way toward deciding it. And that’s why we’re still a little cautious. Because there’s no telling what might happen between now and Tuesday, a day when the state could be a battleground, and that’s why I’m still not ready for it to be over.

I’m less happy with what happened Saturday. Not because I didn’t like what Menendez had to say. Far from it, I thought he did a good job on the stump. I just had a hard time believing it was a convincing win after he finished third among the Democrats, the party of Donald Trump. And I don’t know how good a Democratic candidate Menendez was, but if you were going to be that good, you’d probably make the case against Menendez and not against Sanders.

But it was another example of how little Democrats have learned from their recent experience in New Jersey. It wasn’t enough to have some guy with a bushy hair on the right and some dude with a bushy hair on the left. You had to have some of each.

The race didn’t end on Saturday night when Menendez conceded defeat in a phone call with his opponent. That was later, when he went on Fox News to say that the votes in New Jersey were “a message to the Washington cartel”

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