September 28, 2006

IT’S A ROUGH YEAR FOR REPUBLICANS, with Tennessee in play and George Allen barely holding on. But there’s some good news. First, the economy:

A wave of positive economic news, capped by this week’s run-up in the stock market and a continuing drop in gasoline prices, seems to be coming at an ideal time for Republicans worried about the November elections.

And New Jersey is looking bad for the Democrats:

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez’s closest political adviser was secretly recorded seven years ago boasting of political power and urging a Hudson county contractor to hire somone as a favor to Menendez, according to a transcript obtained by The Star-Ledger.

Tonight Menendez’s campaign says he has severed his ties with the adviser, Donald Scarinci, after learning of the taped conversation. . . . Menendez, locked in a tight U.S. Senate election race against Republican Tom Kean Jr., is already facing political fallout from a federal investigation into a rental deal he had with a non-profit organization in Union City years ago.

A GOP pickup in New Jersey would make Democrats’ chances of retaking the Senate look much worse.