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U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and Rep. Donald Norcross think the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump will help Democratic legislative candidates in the state.
“I think it spurs Democrats in what will probably be one of the lowest turnouts we’ve seen quite some time,” Menendez said. “I think it spurs Democrats at the end of the day to come out to have an outlet to voice their concerns.”
Last week, the House passed a resolution laying out rules for the public portion of its impeachment inquiry against Trump.
That investigation is centered around a call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Trump asked the foreign leader to investigate the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, who was then a clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination to take on Trump next year.
The vote, which passed 232-196 in a vote that was almost entirely along party lines, has provided national Republicans with a renewed line of attack against congressional Democrats in competitive districts, but it’s not entirely clear what effect the proceedings will have on tomorrow’s elections.
Menendez and Norcross are both predicting the proceedings will cause a larger swell among Democrats than among Republicans.
“There’s no question about it is that we see those,” Norcross said of increased enthusiasm among Republicans. “Proportionally, from what I see and who I talk to, there are many more progressive Democrats who are focused on this.”
Unsurprisingly, most of the state’s competitive legislative districts are moderate ones, and save the first district, which is right-leaning and Democratically-held, the state’s most competitive races have Republicans playing defense.
Trump and impeachment have not been the focus in the first, 21st and 25th districts, though candidates there have not exactly shied from criticizing the president when called to.
In either case, it won’t be long before it becomes clear whether Menendez and Norcross have read the state’s races correctly.
“I don’t think they’re as motivated as the Democrats are on this issue,” Menendez said. “So, I think I the barometer — I would say that the Democratic side of this equation on this issue is far more motivated at the end of the day.”