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.
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.