What's already shaping up to be a hyped up battle for the New Jersey Senate -- with Newark Mayor Cory Booker prepping to take on Democratic incumbent Frank Lautenberg (who is not taking that news well!) -- could very soon get a whole lot more epic, as Fox News anchor and celebrity journalist Geraldo Rivera is mulling throwing his hat into the ring as well. Everyone gets one "Al Capone's vault joke" and then you must get on with your lives.
As TVNewser's Alex Weprin reports, Rivera dropped the hint today on his radio show:
“I mention this only briefly, fasten your seatbelt,” Rivera said. “I am and I’ve been in touch with some people in the Republican Party in New Jersey. I am truly contemplating running for Senate against Frank Lautenberg or Cory Booker in New Jersey.”
To the best of my knowledge, Rivera, who went from a career in law to become a Peabody Award-winning journalist and bonafide television celebrity, has not previously evinced a desire to run for public office. And there's still the matter of his current commitments to the Fox News Channel to consider -- both in terms of the contractual obligations and the fact that he still admits to "having a great time" in his role on television and radio. "But I figure at my age," he says, "if I’m going to do it I’ve got to do it."
Over at The Hill, Jonathan Easley assesses the competition:
Rivera could face a tough primary challenge, however, with reports suggesting that Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick of Westfield, state Sen. Joe Kyrillos of Monmouth County and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno are all weighing bids for the GOP ticket.
No official Republican contenders have emerged so far, and none have much of a national profile.
Kyrillos, if you recall, was last seen losing the 2012 Senate election to the scandal-dogged Robert Menendez, by a 58.9-39.4 percent margin.
Rivera's career in journalism has had its share of dizzying highs, embarrassing lows, and high weirdness. On Fox, Rivera has referred to himself as the network's "conscience" on the matter of immigration, and he's no stranger to heated clashes with other Fox regulars. In 2010, Rivera spoke at a luncheon sponsored by El Diario La Prensa NY, in which he lambasted the famously xenophobic Lou Dobbs, and gave assurances that Dobbs would never end up at the Fox News Channel. "I can tell you proudly," he told those assembled, "when [Dobbs] was widely rumored to be coming to my network, I called my boss... and he said it's absolutely untrue." Dobbs is currently a host on the Fox Business Channel.
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