Joe Biden’s Five ‘Greatest’ New Jersey Campaign Hits

Former Vice President Joe Biden stands poised this week to enter the 2020 race for the presidency, an appropriate moment to reflect on…

Biden’s ‘Greatest’ New Jersey Campaign Hits:

1987

In the lead-up to the 1988 presidential contest, then–U.S. Senator Joe Biden anchored the Democratic State Committee’s annual convention in Atlantic City and gave what one New Jersey operative described as the “greatest speech I ever heard.” Soon after, Biden was out, his campaign stung fatally by the charge that Biden was a serial plagiarist.

2007

On the eve of his second formal presidential bid, Biden came to New Jersey to meet with members of The Group, a cadre of powerful fundraisers with a name inspired by Mary McCarthy who gave the once over to all the main presidential candidates in the lead-up to 2008, including the Delaware senator, former U.S. Senator John Edwards, U.S. Senator Barack Obama, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Biden made a favorable impression, but The Group decided to put their fundraising powers behind the presidential candidacy of Clinton.

2009

A year after he helped Barack Obama win the presidency, Vice President Biden came to New Jersey to try to help Democratic Governor Jon Corzine get reelected. A month before the election, he gave a well-received rah-rah speech for Corzine at the AFL-CIO 2009 annual Legislative Conference. But Corzine would love to Republican Governor Chris Christie, 48.5-44.9%.

2017

The bar was considerably lower this time. Once Phil Murphy secured the backing of all 21 counties ahead of the Democratic Primary for Governor, he was pretty much a lock for the job. Republican Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno was running in defense of her work in an administration where the chief executive had a 16% job approval rating. So it was over. But not before former Vice President Biden made a September blue collar appearance on behalf of Murphy in the general election in Edison. The talk at that point was less about Murphy versus Guadagno and more about then-departing Speaker Vincent Prieto versus then-incoming Speaker Craig Coughlin. (Biden made a Lyndhurst appearance, too, on behalf of Murphy).

2018

It was easier for old football jock Biden to play offense rather than defense. Mikie Sherrill’s robust candidacy for Congress in a backlash election year found the former vice president resurfacing in New Jersey’s District 11, at Sherrill’s side for a September fundraiser. Sherrill would go on to handily defeat her Republican opponent at the head of a New Jersey rebuke of President Donald J. Trump. Of 12 congresspeople in the New Jersey delegation, only U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-4) wouldd survive the onslaught.

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