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New Jersey: Zimmer May Be Senate Candidate Sub, Reports Say

The Garden State political blog,, was reporting Wednesday afternoon that state GOP leaders and former Rep. Dick Zimmer (R) could be working out an agreement in which he would replace businessman Andy Unanue in the Republican Senate primary race.

Zimmer, a three-term House member who lost his Senate campaign in 1996, told the blog that he had not been formally offered Unanue’s spot in the primary contest race but said “if the party feels that I should be the candidate I would accept it.”

Although two other Republicans also have filed for the race, state GOP leaders had been rumored to still be casting about for a big-name Republican challenger.

Meanwhile Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s (D) campaign unleashed a broadside yesterday against the incumbent’s 11th-hour Democratic primary challenger Rep. Robert Andrews, blasting the Congressman for being a “cheerleader” for President Bush’s war effort.

The salvo came after comments Andrews made in The Philadelphia Inquirer on Wednesday indicating his opposition to the Iraq War began during the summer of 2004.

The Lautenberg release cited statements Andrews made as late as November 2005 in which he defended the Iraq War.

“Rob Andrews co-authored George Bush’s war resolution and helped to lead the Bush effort ensure it had the Democratic votes it needed to pass both houses of Congress,” the release said. “Congressman Andrews then joined the President at the White House as he signed the bill and spent year after year cheerleading the war while Senator Lautenberg was leading the fight in the Senate to bring our troops home.”

While Lautenberg also is on record for having supported the war in 2002, he became a critic of the White House’s war policy not long after returning to the Senate in 2003.

— John McArdle

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