The number of fellow Republicans that Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens can count on as friends appears to be diminishing.
Former Congressman Dick Zimmer, the GOP nominee challenging Senator Frank Lautenberg in New Jersey, is among the latest calling for Stevens to resign after his conviction on federal corruption charges.
“A culture of corruption has plagued our government for far too long,” Zimmer said in a statement. “Too many people in power have manipulated the political process to criminally enrich themselves.”
“The worst thing that can happen is for honest elected officials to sit idly by and say nothing. Today, I am calling on Senator Stevens to resign, and I ask that Senator Lautenberg join me in this demand. Perhaps Senator Stevens will heed the advice of someone who has served with him so long on the Senate Appropriations Committee.”
Zimmer, who trails in polls, has campaigned on restoring ethical and fiscal integrity to government. The New Jersey Senate election features two Jewish candidates.
Dennis Shulman, the blind psychologist rabbi running for Congress in New Jersey, picked up a high-profile endorsement this morning from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“I’m impressed by his pragmatic, sensible approach to the tough issues, including how we strengthen the economy and how we keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals,” said Bloomberg said in a statement. “We need more leaders in Congress willing to reach across the aisle and focus on problem solving, not ideology.”
Shulman, a Democrat, is challenging Republican Congressman Scott Garrett in New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District.
Bloomberg blamed ideology for too often blocking progress on critical issues.
You can listen to Bloomberg’s conference call
U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg has built “a solid reputation delivering federal funds to New Jersey for mass transit, beach replenishment and road projects” over four decades in the Senate, but the Philadelphia Inquirer calls former Congressman Dick Zimmer “a viable alternative.”
The Inky threw its support and endorsement in the New Jersey Senate election behind Zimmer, who the paper notes has a reputation as a fiscal conservative, who bucks his party and would fight earmarks, but also has a reputation being being a moderate.
The most recent polls show Lautenberg with a 13 to 22 point advantage.
The New Jersey race is one of two this year that features two Jewish candidates. The other is the close fight in Minnesota between incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken.