Geraldo Rivera for Senate?
By Kevin Liptak, CNN
(CNN) — New Jersey voters haven’t sent a Republican to the U.S. Senate since 1972, but that isn’t discouraging Fox News host Geraldo Rivera from pushing forward with a potential bid.
Rivera, who first floated the possibility of running for Senate in 2014 on his radio show Thursday, again teased a prospective campaign during an appearance on Fox News Friday.
“I really do believe, as a modern Republican, that there is a point of view that is unrepresented in states like New Jersey,” Rivera said as he launched into what sounded like the seeds of a stump speech.
“There can be a new vitalization of the Republican Party, a concept where we extol the virtues of good business and fiscal policy and we fight the deficit and we don’t advocate the printing of money in obscene amounts just to cover our debts. We have to rein in entitlements.”
But on social issues, Rivera tacked left.
“I believe in immigration reform. I believe in gay rights and gay marriage. I believe in choice. Not obscenely, but I believe in Roe vs. Wade,” he told the hosts of “Fox and Friends.”
“So you have to take my fiscal positions on being a Republican, who believes that we have to bail out future generations rather than indebt future generations, with some of these social policies that aren’t in sync with much of traditional GOP politics, at least in recent years,” he continued.
Rivera’s potential Democratic rivals in 2014 include current Sen. Frank Lautenberg, the 89-year-old incumbent who has yet to announce whether he’s running for re-election, and Cory Booker, the charismatic mayor of Newark.
While Booker has higher poll numbers than Lautenberg in a potential 2014 match-up, the longtime senator has scoffed at the idea and given little indication that he plans to step down.
If he does decide to run, Rivera will likely be forced to bow out of his Fox News appearances, at least for the duration of his campaign. During the run-up to last year’s presidential contest, Fox suspended the contributor contracts of Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, who made bids for the GOP nomination.
Other television hosts have made overtures about running for Senate in the past, including MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who discussed running in Pennsylvania, and talk-show master Jerry Springer, who contemplated a bid in Ohio.
Lou Dobbs, formerly of CNN and now a host on Fox Business Network, also considered a run for Senate in New Jersey in 2010.
Asked Friday whether he’d be willing to end his Fox News appearances to pursue a Senate bid, Rivera explained the race was still at least a year away.
“So I’ve got some time to hone a message, get around and ride my Harley to all parts of Garden State,” he said.
That Harley ride could give Rivera some insights into New Jersey’s electorate, which for three decades has voted Democrats into the Senate. The last Republican New Jersey senator, Clifford Case, was elected in 1972.
CNN’s Ashley Killough contributed to this report.