Slogging through a crummy combination of rain and voter apathy, a Democratic Party source sized up the $20 million Phil Murphy threw at the contest, what he expects will be very low voter turnout at the final bell, the end of the Christie era and the first chance Dems have to make an anti-Trump statement, and couldn’t get the discouragement out of his voice.
Democrats didn’t prune their party, and will pay the price tonight, the source acknowledged, with flat vote totals.
They win. They all win.
But there is little passion, he said.
“We have only ourselves to blame,” the source groaned.
120 legislators are up this year and it’s possible that all of those people intent on retaining their seats will make it back to the Statehouse.
This was the chance to make a real statement against Trump, an opportunity to exorcise the thousand private agonies suffered since Hillary Clinton lost last year with a pulse at the polls, and NJ Dems ho hummed it, said the source – a Murphy fan.
Fearing a result tonight that shows the standard bearer of the party at less than absolutely ruddy robust political health heading into the general election, the source said the party will have to recruit new talent, new blood and size up future elections to make a statement, even as he acknowledged the likelihood of Trump-tied GOP PACs making this year’s contest more competitive than it should be, given the cross currents of Christie and Trump.
A second source, jittery, welcomed the general election as a chance to correct primary cycle errors – and possibly more nailed down coordination.
“If Murphy doesn’t get this all figured out, it’s not the cakewalk we’re all saying,” said the source. “Close races will lose in November if this isn’t fixed. Not to mention the fact that Hillary was definitely going to win.”
A source close to Murphy world refused to buy into panic mode – quite the contrary, noting that Murphy united all 21 counties and averted a party war. The source made the case that the candidate was a relative unknown as recently as two years ago and mostly retail politicked his way to the top of the heap.