candidates Bob Menendez, Tom Kean.
U.S. Senate Race New Jersey
Bob Menendez vs. Tom Kean
-- Jeff Hauser
The race for U.S. Senate in New Jersey features Democratic
incumbent Bob Menendez running against Republican challenger Tom
Sen. Menendez has served since January of 2006, when he was
appointed to fill the seat of newly elected Gov. Jon Corzine. Prior
to his appointment, he served seven terms in the U.S. House of
Representatives, representing the 13th District and building a
strong record as a member of the International Relations Committee.
He also served as Mayor of Union City, NJ.
Tom Kean, Jr., comes from a well-known political family. His
father served as governor in the 1980s, and Kean currently serves as
a state Senator from the 21st District. He is the Republican's
Minority Whip in the Senate. He was appointed
by his party to fill a vacant state Senate seat in 2003; similarly,
he was appointed to fill a vacant Assembly seat in 2001.
This is one of the most-watched races in the Senate, and nearly
every poll shows a very tight race. Control of this seat is certain
to play a part in control of the Senate.
Some have pointed to experience as a factor in this race. David
Rebovich, a New Jersey political columnist and director of the Rider
University Institute for New Jersey Politics spoke to this question
as the race was taking shape. He said that Menendez
had an "impressive intellect...and knowledge of domestic and
foreign policy...this veteran public official has several
well-reasoned alternatives to GOP policies."
Rebovich said, "there's the question of whether the state
Senator is really ready for prime time...what is not clear yet is
his knowledge of major domestic and foreign policy issues that
occupy U.S. Senators."
Another issue that will affect this race is the relative
unpopularity of President Bush, whose approval
ratings in the state have not broken 40% for more than a year.
Menendez is unambiguous on this issue, describing
himself as "someone who can stand up, take on, and beat
back President Bush."
Kean is deeply connected to the Republican establishment, but
he's trying to run as an "independent reformer." He even
resorted to blaming traffic on Route 1 for his inability to attend a
major fundraiser with Dick
Cheney, and also declined
to attend a major fundraiser on his behalf featuring Karl
Menendez has taken strong, clear stances on Israel, stem-cell
research, reproductive rights and the separation of church and
state, and he has established a long legislative record on these
issues. AIPAC's Josh Bloch has praised his support of Israel,
calling him "among the few really outstanding leaders on
issues of importance to the pro-Israel community." Kean is
a supporter of Israel, but his record on the other issues is less
Here's some more information on how the candidates stand on
issues of importance to the Jewish community:
||Bob Menendez (D.
|Tom Kean (R)
- Strong supporter of Israel.
- National Jewish organizations have strongly
praised Menendez' record on Israel. Former AIPAC
President David Steiner said, "In my years
of working in the pro-Israel community, I have not
met a leader who understands the importance of the
U.S.-Israel relationship better than Bob Menendez."
- Strong supporter of Israel.
- From Kean's web
site: "It is important that the United
States remains committed to Israel as a partner and
- Pro-choice: Menendez is a strong supporter
of reproductive rights.
- While in the House, Menendez consistently earned a
rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America and
- According to Planned Parenthood, Kean has a mixed
record on reproductive-rights issues, supporting
- Kean praised
the nomination of anti-choice Supreme Court Justice
|Stem Cell Research
- From his website:
"Senator Menendez believes in the tremendous
promise of embryonic stem cell research...when it
comes to stem cell research, Senator Menendez is
helping researchers make the promise of embryonic
stem cell research become a reality. ?
- Menendez was a co-sponsor of the Stem Cell
Research Enhancement Act.
- Kean has a mixed record on stem-cell research. He
has expressed support during this campaign season,
but as a state Senator he voted
against the creation of a Stem Cell Institute
in the New Jersey Senate.
of Church and State
- Menendez has consistently voted in favor of
- As a member of the House, he received a rating
of 15 out of 100 from the conservative Christian
Coalition in 2003 and 2004 and a rating of 0 from
the Christian Coalition in 2002.
- As a member of the Senate, he has supported the
priorities of Americans
United for the Separation of Church and State.
- There is no public record of Kean's stance on