Geraldo Rivera Senate run: Is he really a Republican?

Geraldo Rivera voted for Obama in 2012, but he is a registered Republican. He says his heroes are Republican moderates from the Northeast, just the kind that can win in New Jersey.

By , Staff Writer

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    Geraldo Rivera on the 'Fox & friends' television program in New York in June 2010. Rivera, who hosts a weekend show on Fox, said Thursday he's seriously thinking about running for US Senate in New Jersey.
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As we wrote Thursday, veteran broadcast journalist Geraldo Rivera is “truly contemplating” (his words) campaigning for a US Senate seat from New Jersey in 2014. He says he’d run as a Republican against either incumbent Democrat Sen. Frank Lautenberg, or Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who’d likely win the Democratic primary if Lautenberg decides to retire.

Is he serious about this? After all, when non-politician celebrities talk about running for office, often they’re just looking for more attention, or have an ancillary product to sell.

But we must say that right now Geraldo seems like he’s really enthusiastic about a possible foray into politics. He’s already outlined some of his views on issues in an op-ed for Fox News, which is more than Ashley Judd has done after weeks of contemplating a Senate run in Kentucky. On a “Fox and Friends” appearance on Friday, Rivera elaborated on his ideology, saying that he’s a moderate Republican looking to revitalize the GOP.

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Of course, with Geraldo it is hard to distinguish between genuine enthusiasm and sheer volume. The sound level on his butterscotch broadcast voice always seems to be set to “stun.”

But here’s another question: is he really a Republican?

Let’s go down the list of his positions on some-hot button issues. First, he voted for President Obama in 2012, according to his Fox News Latino essay. That’s going to be a problem right up front.

However, he attempts to dodge this by saying that he endorsed Mitt Romney’s economic platform. He decries the Democrats’ inaction on the federal deficit, and says the nation’s big entitlement programs need reform.

“Unfettered, theirs is a recipe for generational catastrophe,” Rivera writes.

He is a registered Republican, by the way. He signed up with the GOP in 2009, after previously been registered as unaffiliated with any party, according to a Newark Star Ledger story.

In the end River pulled the lever for Obama because of social issues. He’s (mostly) pro-abortion, as well as pro-gay marriage and pro-immigration reform. Also, he wants to normalize relations with Cuba and Venezuela. None of those are things that made their way into the 2012 Republican platform.

However, on the other side, he’s a law-and-order guy who wants New York City’s “Stop and Frisk” policing style imported to the Garden State. He says his political heroes have been moderate Northeast Republicans, from New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller to former New Jersey Gov. Christie Todd Whitman and current Gov. Chris Christie.

“Democrats have a huge ... registration advantage in New Jersey,” Rivera said on "Fox and Friends." “But I really do believe, as a moderate Republican, there is a point of view that is unrepresented in states like New Jersey.”

OK, Democrats do lead Republican registrations in New Jersey by about 13 percentage points.

But we see what Rivera is thinking here. It doesn’t matter whether he voted for Obama or not in a state that went for Obama by a big margin. New Jersey will not elect a Republican who could pass muster with the House GOP caucus. They will vote – and have – for somebody like Chris Christie. So Rivera’s main hope is to attach himself to Governor Christie’s hip.

And you know what? That plan is so crazy it just might work. Christie is almost the most popular governor in the country. A recent Quinnipiac poll found his in-state approval rating to be an astounding 74 percent. A majority of New Jersey Democrats like the job their Republican governor is doing.

The Democratic Party can’t even find an A-list politician to take on Christie, who faces voters for reelection this November. Cory Booker passed so he could run for Senate instead.

That’s the advantage Geraldo Rivera would have if he makes a Senate bid. His positions mirror Christie’s. He could campaign with Christie. Basically, he’d probably attempt to get voters to see him as Christie’s first cousin. You know – the one with the big moustache, the Harley, and the radio and TV gigs he’d have to give up if he runs.

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