When will Politics as Usual Resume?

McGreevey

Amid the onslaught of medical news, it is becoming easy to forget what, if anything, is happening politically.

The filing deadline for primary candidates is less than two weeks away and many congressional races are already underway. Or they were.

At least officially, there are hot congressional races brewing for Democrats in District 2 and Republicans in Districts 3 and 5. If it slipped your mind, the incumbents in those districts respectively are Jeff Van Drew, Andy Kim and Josh Gottheimer.

Everything is in hiatus now as campaign events and fundraisers are being canceled. To put that into focus, I came across a missive from Morris County Republicans. In the next two weeks alone, fundraisers for congressional candidate Rosemary Becchi, Sen. Anthony M. Bucco, Surrogate Heather Darling and Freeholder John Krickus all have been cancelled.

Multiply that throughout the state to grasp how the merry circuit of political life is in limbo.

An obvious question is what happens when the crisis passes?

There may not be a template for this, but I am reminded of how things also shut down politically after the Sept. 11 attack in 2001. That was in the middle of a gubernatorial race between Jim McGreevey and Bret Schundler.

When things were about to resume in late September/early October, I recall chatting with a Republican state legislator at the time over drinks. His take was that Schundler was suddenly in a good spot, because during a crisis, voters would lean toward the party that sells itself as the stronger of the two regarding security and just “keeping people safe.”

Federal and state issues were being mixed here, but things do have a way of filtering down.

Not in this case. In the end, McGreevey won easily with 56 percent of the vote. In a “blue” state, that really was no surprise.

All this could mean nothing, but it could suggest that when politics revs up again, conventional wisdom will hold. The unknown factor, though, is when will that be?

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