The Pathway to a Bashaw Upset Victory in November

Conventional wisdom is often the coin of the realm in New Jersey politics.  This morning, regarding the forthcoming November US Senate election, the conventional wisdom is that the Democratic candidate, Congressman Andy Kim is certain to score a lopsided victory over Republican candidate Curtis Bashaw.

In this case, the conventional wisdom is not very wise.  There are two demographic factors, two management factors, and the “Bob Menendez” factor that taken together provide a most plausible pathway for Curtis Bashaw to become the first Republican to win a New Jersey US Senate general election victory since the reelection of Clifford Case in 1972.

The first demographic factor is women voters.  Curtis Bashaw is pro-choice on abortion and a model of inclusiveness and tolerance – a gay man in a stable marriage to a gay husband.  For women voters, inclusiveness is critical.  He is a certainty to receive the votes of more Democratic and Independent women than any other Republican candidate since Tom Kean’s gubernatorial reelection in 1985.

The second demographic is the Jewish vote, which in a statewide New Jersey election can be as high as ten percent.  In a word, Kim’s record of support on Israel is terrible.  As I have written in previous columns, Andy Kim’s record of appeasement of and moral equivalence between Israel and its enemies augurs ill for the future of the American-Israel alliance.  And his flip-flops on the war with Hamas, Israel’s genocidal enemy, has made him most untrustworthy to New Jersey Jews. Defections of Democratic Jewish voters to outspokenly pro-Israel Bashaw will be major.

Bashaw has a major opportunity to make massive gains among women and Jewish voters.  The two following campaign factors increase the possibility of his achieving these objectives.

The first campaign factor is Kim’s bitter antagonism of Democratic county chairs, due to his efforts to eliminate the “county party line” from the primary ballot. This was viewed by these leaders as an effort to take away their political “bread and butter.”  To use the old cliche, “paybacks are a bitch,“ and Kim will face payback in great abundance from these Democratic county chairs during the forthcoming campaign.

The second is the campaign management team Bashaw has assembled.  It is indeed a “dream team,” and four leaders stand out.

The first is the campaign chair, Michael Testa, Jr.  I run out of superlatives in describing Mike – the most competent Republican member of the New Jersey State Senate  and the most effective county GOP chair in the state.  He is long on charisma and substance and short on political baggage.  His support of Curtis in the primary was a major factor in the bridges built between the Bashaw campaign and county political organizations.

The second is the campaign consultant, Mike Duhaime.  He is a top-flight strategist, with superb proficiency in targeting areas that can yield his candidate unanticipated large vote totals.

The next is communications director Jeanette Hoffman.  She is that rare combination of methodology, strategy, and substance in the art of communications.  Jeanette is also an excellent professional in her appearances on television talk shows, whether on behalf of a candidate or as a political analyst.

The fourth member of the Bashaw dream team is Rick Mroz, a most distinguished state government veteran in two GOP gubernatorial administrations.  He served in such critical positions as director of the Governor’s Authorities Unit, Governor’s Chief Counsel, and President of the Board of Public Utilities.  A US Senate candidate needs to be apprised of state as well as federal issues, and Rick’s knowledge of both is encyclopedic.

Finally, there is the “Menendez” factor – the continued presence on the ballot of indicted Democratic US Senator Bob Menendez as an independent.  It is difficult at this point to gauge the impact of the Menendez candidacy on two critical Democratic constituencies, Hudson County and Latino voters.  There is little doubt that the impact will be negative.

Last week, I authored a column on the political and private life of Curtis Bashaw.  His quality as a candidate is indisputable.  Certainly, as a Republican, he is an underdog in this undeniably blue Democratic state.  At this point, I will not predict the outcome of this election.  But the pathway to a Bashaw upset victory is most clear.

Alan J. Steinberg of Highland Park served as regional administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as executive director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission. He graduated from Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin Law School.

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15 responses to “The Pathway to a Bashaw Upset Victory in November”

  1. Alan, I missed you. I will not even pretend that I am in consistent agreement with your columns. But I appreciate their thoughtfulness and the well-crafted arguments you present.

  2. If Democratic county chairs actually try to put a Republican governor in office as payback for power loss, they would be ruining their own party, and their own power. Seems nuts to me but then I never had any power except an excellent potato salad that had me invited to picnics.

  3. I appreciate your point of view, but looking at both candidates, representative Kim has experience crucial to the senate position. He is definitely inclusive and earned the National Organization for Women endorsement. While I see republican leaning independent voters happy with Mr. Bashaw’s pro choice “current” stance, as a newbie republican senator, he could be politically swayed to fall in line (think Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Coney Barrett and “settled law”). I personally don’t see any self-respecting democrat or democrat leaning independent trusting the Republican Party on ANY women’s issues. Senator Menéndez is a variable, however. My personal opinion is democrats in general will not support someone who is convicted (or twice indicted), but I could be wrong and ethnicity will override what’s best for the state. We will know the outcome sometime after November 5th!

  4. An interesting opinion, but one that I think doesn’t hold much water. NJ has an incredibly educated electorate, and they know exactly what voting for a gop senator would do in Washington. NJ women aren’t going to hand the keys to the Senate to the republican party because bashaw claims to be pro-choice. He has publicly stated he supports the Dobbs decision which ended Roe, anathema to female voters. Andy Kim wins by at least 8 points.

  5. If abortion is the only issue on the ballot, then we as a state and a nation are in deep sh*t. Women shriek about “My body, my choice”, but they were quick to give up their bodies (and in some cases their lives) when the Democrats told them to take COVID faux vaccine shots (that were experimental and are now known not to work and are killing people) otherwise you lose your rights to work, drive, religious beliefs, school, etc. The so called “suburban women” and National Organization of Women are full of sh*t. It’s time we stop listening to these radical leftist, Communist fringe groups.

    Abortion is way down the list of things that need to be fixed. Things that need to be fixed start with the economy, inflation, the border and illegal aliens stealing our tax money that should be going to all of us, energy independence, stopping involvement in foreign wars, returning schools to normal by removing fringe elements as LGBTQ and Trans agendas, protecting the 1st and 2nd Amendments, etc.

    We need a majority of Republicans in the U.S. Senate and N.J. to protect everyone’s rights. The Democrat-Communists are attempting to turn NJ and the US into a Socialist/Communist country. We need to halt this movement, and get back to normal, otherwise women won’t be able to protest about abortion anymore once Democrats-Communists have removed First Amendment Rights to Protest.

  6. This election cycle , the key issue for the Democrat Party Platform is Abortion. An extremely personal issue that really has no place in politics. Yet, it is used as a political football every election cycle to gain votes under the guise of women’s issues. The brilliance of “safe, legal, and rare” has morphed into “my body my right” – with no limitations. Politicians tinker around the edges but never commit to how far is too far.
    “The abortion debate in America is often farmed as a legal binary, with “pro-life” on one side, seeking to restrict abortion’s availability and “pro-choice’ people on the other, opposing government restrictions on abortion.” Yet, The Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about issues, attitudes and trends, show that most Americans are in favor of abortion but open to some restrictions and exceptions. In other words, the issue of abortion has no political party affiliation; it is a personal matter.
    The Dobbs decision put the abortion issue back to the states and out of the hands of the federal government. New Jersey is a pro-choice state and Mr. Bashaw states he is pro-choice.
    My personal opinion is the issue of abortion should not be a part of politics. Unfortunately, it is front and center and its truth undermined as a means to get votes. I say this as a self-respecting, educated woman, independent voter.

  7. What Steinberg doesn’t mention in his gassy piece is how exactly is this dream team of political strategists going to get enough Biden supporters to vote for Bashaw? In November, Kim will have the Democratic “line” in all 21 counties and Bashaw will be on the R line with Trump. Bashaw’s endorsement of Trump was clear and it will be easy to paint him as Team Trump, even though he did not get Trump’s endorsement. Nonetheless, some hard-core Trumpers won’t vote for Bashaw in the general because he was not endorsed by Trump, and because of his alliances with many Ds, including Norcross, Lesniak, Booker, and McGreevey. His alliance with McGreevy when McGreevy resigned in disgrace is doubly problematic for Bashaw, as it makes it hard for him with Trump supporters and possible Democratic ticket splitters. As for Menendez, given the current trends of Latino voters, it is naive to assume he will only siphon votes from Kim. Thus, barring a most unlikely Trump victory in November in NJ, it’s hard to see a Bashaw victory, even if the NJ D establishment is secretly rooting for this outcome.

  8. Steinberg is now a 1 issue voter. As I type Benny Gantz is quitting the Israeli war cabinet. Who knows where the Gaza conflict will be on November 6.
    Bashaw endorsed Trump; he kneeled and kissed the ring. Will Mojarity Leader Cruz or Hawley let freshman Bashaw pull a Murkowski and go his own way? I think not.

  9. No Republican who fails to conform completely to the MAGA agenda survives in Congress. If Bashaw is elected, he will be forced to cave–on abortion, contraception, IVF, and every other issue. Women know Republicans say one thing when they campaign and do the opposite if they win. The Dobbs decision taught us the bitter lesson that Republicans, like the ones on the Supreme Court, cannot be trusted. Bashaw will be no different.

  10. The Dobbs decision held: “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled: and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.
    The public opinion has shown a majority support for abortion access has remained remarkably consistent, stated Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood. And The Pew Research Center shows most people approve of abortion, but want some limits and exceptions.
    The push for abortion regulations and to what extent is the question states will now need to answer.
    My body my choice with no limitations is extreme.
    The bitter lesson is abortion is not owned by the Democrat Party and women are individual thinkers.
    The pendulum needs to find middle ground, regardless of political party.

  11. I can’t help but think this whole “my body, my choice” is a lot of B.S. Abortion-minded women let the government dictate putting experimental vaccines loaded with cell-destroying mRNAs in it, into women’s bodies (as well as males, and children).

    Where were the women’s groups yelling “my body, my choice” then, when the government was ordering poison to be put into their bodies. We now see the results of the fake experimental “vaccines”–cardiopulmonary issues, massive blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, failed pregnancies, miscarriages, etc. Not to mention that the faux “vaccines” did not stop any virus, but actually created more virus. And, that included the multiple boosters we were told to take that would “definitely stop” the virus–and didn’t!!!!

    Until women want to claim, en masse, that they won’t take government-forced, deadly experimental drugs or vaccines, I won’t accept their fraud and lie of “my body, my choice”.

  12. “My body my choice” is a mantra used when it fits a specific narrative and tossed to the wind when it doesn’t fit. Similar to the “Me too” movement. Women are independent thinkers and not locked into a mantra or a movement . They are Democrat, Republican, Libertarian and Independent voters. No one party owns their vote and most are not single issue voters. Common sense needs to prevail, not gaslighting, especially on very personal issues, like abortion .

  13. “Women are independent thinkers”??? Most of them screaming “my body, my choice” are Democrats/Leftists.
    Don’t believe me? Look it up.

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