Kornacki on N.J’s U.S. Senate race: ‘It’s shaping up to be a test of those [party] lines’


NBC/MSNBC National News Correspondent Steve Kornacki said that New Jersey’s U.S. Senate race is “shaping up to be a test of those [party] lines” during a conversation at Saint Peter’s University via the Guarini Institute for Government and Leadership.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“It’s fascinating, I came to New Jersey from Massachusetts and I remember having to learn about the county lines, the organization lines: they confused the heck out of me. It took me a long time to understand it and then I watched it in action,” he told a crowd of about 100 people at the MacMahon Student Center this afternoon.

” … I had grown up kind of thinking that the political machines were an archaic thing, they didn’t really exist any more, then I got to Jersey and realized that they do and they still do. These organization lines, which Tammy Murphy is basically going to monopolize, you get that designated ballot column, it’s impossible to miss, it looks very official, it’s got all these local names on it that you recognize and then some are in the Central Time Zone.”

He referenced that the first independent poll of the race, conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) indicated that U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-3) leads by 12 points, therefore this race could be a test of the party line’s actual strength in a presidential year.

He added that the the First Lady has met a lot of opposition to her candidacy, largely because she if the wife of Gov. Phil Murphy (D).

“Anecdotally, I sense a lot of hostility among grassroots Democrats towards the way the Tammy Murphy thing has kind of come about: the governor’s wife, the party leaders over all of the counties immediately endorsing, I sense that there’s a little bit of backlash to that,” he stated.

“But if these lines are as strong as they’ve been in the past, that could compensate for a lot for her and it could also, if Kim starts putting his own slates together, it could also create some very interesting dynamics in lower bound races because Kim has the incentive to fill out his ballot lines with as many candidate lines as he can. That could cause chaos too, that’s why the counties love the line, because they don’t want competitive primaries, they don’t want chaos.”

Kornacki’s analysis came after a question from Journal Square mainstay Bill Armbruster, but prior to a question and answer session with the audience, the majority of his discussion revolved around President Joe Biden (D) potentially rematching former President Donald Trump (R).

“Right now, the only thing keeping Biden in this race is Trump, but that may end being all that Biden needs to win the race. It may just be a contest, in the end, who people want to vote more against: Biden or Trump,” he explained.

“And for that matter, when you look at his numbers, the only thing keeping Trump in this race right now is Biden … We have too extremely unpopular nominees. When we poll people and ask if they want another Biden-Trump matchup, overwhelmingly they say no.”

He further stated that national Democrats could not find a consensus for a candidate besides Biden, noting that Vice President Kamala Harris polled worse than Trump.

Kornacki also stated that recent polling had Trump performing better in certain voter demographics, such as younger voters and Latino voters, two demographic where he struggled mightily in 2020.

“This is really is looking like it’s a toss up right now and I wouldn’t say that anyone’s the favorite and that’s the difference,” he added.

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