Beaucoup Polling Drama Around Bucco

Anthony M. Bucco is visiting Republican events around the state, dreaming about becoming Senate President.

The GOP would need a big win on Election Day to transform the minority leader into top dog in the Senate, but, hey, there’s nothing wrong with ambition.

But before any of that can happen, there’s a race at home to be won.

Bucco’s 25th District – mostly Morris County plus West Milford in Passaic – certainly tilts Republican.

The GOP’s registration lead is only about 2,500, but tradition is squarely with Republicans even though the district has changed a bit over the years.

It’s been 30 years since a Democrat won a legislative seat in LD-25.  That was in 1993 when Gordon MacInnes beat John Dorsey. This was a big upset, although Dorsey was not universally popular even with Republicans. Four years later, Anthony R. Bucco, the current senator’s late father, ousted MacInnes and reclaimed the seat for the GOP. That, of course, ties the history and the present together.

Despite all that, Democrats are circulating a poll they took on behalf of Christine Clarke, the party’s

Clarke

Senate candidate.

It claims Clarke leads Bucco 49 percent to 40 percent.

But wait, there’s a caveat here.

The Dems say that lead is realized “when voters are informed about the positions (Clarke) and (Bucco) have taken on abortion rights.”

Clarke is pro-choice. Bucco is pro-life.

This is what Democrats want to be the issue in this year’s campaign statewide.

There’s a good reason for that. Polling and real life – results across the country – have shown that those who care about abortion rights back Democrats.

The Dems’ release says that. “Democrats in suburban, college educated areas similar to the 25th District have consistently overperformed in recent elections since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade.”

Phil Murphy on Wednesday held a public event to make this very point. The governor joined Democratic legislators and others to stress all that New Jersey is doing to protect reproductive rights and expand access to contraception and abortion services. This happened a month before the election. Not really a coincidence.

Republicans, meanwhile, are saying the legislative races are about many other things.

Chief among them are “parents’ rights.” Viewed through the political lens of the day, this is the belief that parents should know what their children are doing in school, including the books they read, the curriculum they are taught and their actions regarding sexuality.

Republicans say this is an issue because Democrats oppose parents knowing such things.

Bucco and other Republicans have said more than once at GOP gatherings that parental rights are an issue Democrats are providing on the proverbial silver platter.

Guess we’ll see in about four weeks how far that gift goes.

Getting back to the Democrats’ release, note that it says Clarke polls well when voters know the abortion views of both candidates.

That begs the question, how many voters know the abortion views of Clarke and Bucco?

In an era when local newspapers do not cover such elections very robustly, if at all, that’s a legitimate question.

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