Prior to the national wave of anti-incumbent, anti-establishment, Tea Party driven elections that took root with Scott Brown in Massachusetts and have spread to Utah, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, and Kentucky, the conventional wisdom was that Frank Pallone could not be beat.
Pallone is entrenched and has a $4 million war chest. That is why Diane Gooch and not Mary Pat Angelini is the establishment choice to challenge Pallone this fall. Gooch's ability to self fund her campaign will force Pallone to spend down his war chest and weaken him, not in this race, but in a future statewide race for U.S. Senate should Frank Lautenberg retire or not seek another term.
Gooch says she thinks she can win, not, in her own words, because she is so great, but because Pallone is so bad. Very few others think so. Gooch is the establishment candidate because she can self-fund and also contribute to local and county races. She's not supposed to win. She's supposed to weaken Pallone and help local Republicans get elected.
It would have been a sensible plan if not for the Tea Party driven wave sweeping the country. There is a growing sense in the district that Frank Pallone can be beat. There is a very strong sentiment that he must be beat.
Governor Chris Christie's election last fall and the school budget elections last month, while not Tea Party driven, are a strong indication that the New Jersey electorate is ripe to participate in the Tea Party wave.
Anna Little is riding that wave and tapping that sentiment. With very little money, she has Gooch in a tight race for the nomination. Every move that Gooch makes, TV ads, fund raising letters and events and a rigorous schedule of retail campaigning is a testiment to Little's considerable appeal.
Many were surprised to receive Gooch's fundraising appeal in the mail last week. "If she is self funding, why is she asking me for money?" "I did not even open the letter" are the two comments I've heard most frequently. Gooch has a fund raiser tonight. A email went out yesterday with a discount offer for county committee members. Discounts for county committee is code for "we need to fill the room."
So here we are, 20 days before the primary and we have two candidates asking for money. Which one are you more likely to donate to? You can vote in the poll on the side bar and you can vote with your credit card here:
Help pay for Diane Gooch's TV ads
Help pay for Anna Little's radio ads