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Meet the U.S. Senate Candidate Running to Restore the Gold Standard in a Deep Blue Northeastern State


Meet the U.S. Senate Candidate Running to Restore the Gold Standard in a Deep Blue Northeastern State

For conservatives, libertarians, independents and disaffected Democrats, the most intriguing dark horse senatorial candidate in 2014 might just be a 70-year old New Jerseyan you’ve never heard of.

When Jeff Bell last won election – as the Republican nominee for the same U.S. Senate seat he seeks today in New Jersey – Jimmy Carter had not yet delivered his infamous “malaise” speech. Long-term interest rates hovered above 8%. Bell’s current opponent, Senator Cory Booker, was a child.

A self described “policy wonk” and “political junkie,” Bell unseated incumbent Republican senator, Clifford Case, in a major upset in that 1978 primary, before losing the general election to former NBA star and future presidential candidate Bill Bradley. No Republican has ever been elected to the U.S. Senate from New Jersey since.

In 1982, the then-39 year old Columbia graduate, who started contributing to National Review in the 1960s, served as an aide to the Nixon campaign in 1968; fought in Vietnam; worked on the 1976 and 1980 Reagan campaigns; and would attempt — unsuccessfully — to secure the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in New Jersey again following the resignation of a Democratic senator convicted for bribery and conspiracy in the Abscam scandal fictionalized in the 2013 film, “American Hustle.”

While he would notably later serve as national campaign coordinator for Rep. Jack Kemp in his 2000 presidential bid, the majority of Bell’s career was spent focusing on advancing policy over politics. Bell served a short stint as president of the conservative Manhattan Institute think tank, as well as lengthier tenures at an economic and political forecasting firm, Lehrman Bell Mueller Canon, a public affairs firm, Capital City Partners, and in academia as a fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics and visiting professor at Rutgers’ Eagleton Institute.

Bell also wrote columns for publications such as the Wall Street Journal and Weekly Standard, and published two books including the 2012 title, “The Case for Polarized Politics: Why America Needs Social Conservatism,” and the 1992 title “Populism and Elitism: Politics in the Age of Equality.”

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