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August 05, 2013 3:33 PM Going Ideological in New Jersey

By Ed Kilgore

With New Jersey voters going to the polls for a special Senate primary a week from tomorrow, one of Corey Booker’s two Congress-critter opponents for the Democratic nomination, Rush Holt, has launched a last-minute ad that is surprisingly ideological, calling Booker “no progressive” and citing as evidence the front-runner’s non-support for a carbon tax, a break-up of big banks, and a shutdown of the NSA’s surveillance program:

It’s certainly understandable that Holt is searching for some kind of purchase in a race where Booker has a vast financial and celebrity advantage, and has held an enormous lead over the field in every available poll.

But what’s interesting about Holt’s effort to outflank Booker on the left is that he is a long-time member of the House New Democrat Coalition, a centrist group that some progressive folk consider little better than the Blue Dogs.

Now you can look at Holt’s gambit as a political expedient, or as an indication that the NDC is more ideologically diverse than the stereotypes would suggest (which has always been my own impression). But given Booker’s frequently suprapartisan instincts, it probably doesn’t bother him to be labeled less progressive than his primary opposition, particularly since he’s strolling to victory.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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