Last week, it was announced that state Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) was going to be in Trenton on Monday to endorse Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX14) for the Republican nomination for president in 2012. Paul joined Doherty and other Republicans in Trenton to build momentum and attention for his campaign that still finds him muddled in the middle of the current pack.
As Doherty told those gathered,
“For the last 100 years, the Constitution has been ignored in this country. In 2012, we are going to elect a man to restore liberty.”
Doherty is one of the more conservative Republicans in Trenton. His support for Paul comes from some of Paul’s unconventional stances; most promimently opposing the Middle East wars. Doherty, like Paul, views such efforts as only to be used in major emergencies. Nonetheless, Doherty is also drawn to Paul for his efforts for limited government, a balanced budget, and freedoms and liberties free of strict regulations.
As the rally and campaign event continued, the crowd began to get fired up by shouting “End the Fed!” Long before Texas Governor Rick Perry wrote a book on the ills of the Federal Reserve; Ron Paul has mentioned, campaigned, and spoke out about ending the Fed.
When given the opportunity to address the crowd, Paul stated,
“If we had only listened to our founders, we wouldn’t have to be putting up with this (chokehold). Freedom is a new idea, although we’ve had a good test of it. But in the last 100 years we have let liberty down.”
Displaying political appreciation, Paul hinted at supporting Doherty if he were to run for the U.S. Senate against Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) next year. Additionally, Paul was asked about Governor Chris Christie and his chances of running for president. Speaking on a basis of barely knowing the governor, Paul knows as much about Christie’s intentions to run as much as the next guy.
Doherty’s entry into the presidential endorsement game gets the ball rolling in the state. The majority of New Jersey Republicans have chosen to be quiet on the field and Christie has led the way in those efforts. It creates a cloud of uncertainty for the candidates as they try to prepare for each state’s primary or caucus. However, with New Jersey officially now holding its primary elections next year in June again (as opposed to February like in 2008); it will likely lessen the role and impact that the primary will ultimately play in the primary process in determining a nominee.
Doherty’s 2011 state Senate Democratic opponent, John Graf, used Doherty’s presser as an opportunity to highlight the faults that Doherty possesses and his opinions and stances. Paul, one to call out too much government involvement, has recently attacked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). As Graf would outline,
“That’s too extreme for New Jersey and it’s too extreme for the 23rd District. This is an incumbent who is running for the U.S. Senate, not state Senate. That’s what this is about today. He’s climbing the political ladder during a catastrophe (Hurricane Irene).”
With all the attention Doherty drew for Paul and the attention he drew for himself, Doherty might be continuing to position himself for a U.S. Senate race. If Doherty were to jump into the race, he can count former GOP gubernatorial candidate, Steve Lonegan, as a more than likely endorsement. According to Lonegan,
“If he runs he’s got to get in the race soon.”
Time will tell if Doherty does run and if rallies like the one Monday propel his name and ultimately his candidacy. He clearly is behind Paul and depening on Doherty’s sway; Paul could turn New Jersey into a state worth putting time and resources towards. By standing up and endorsing Paul, Doherty is at least showing his willingness to be a voice in any way in a national election as well as build his name locally. For now, Doherty has positioned himself great to possibly gain the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate next year. Until he does announce his intentions to challenge Menendez, he will be an outspoken advocate for Ron Paul in the interim.