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Democrats’ Dumping of Torricelli Could Be Blueprint for What Happens to Hillary

Bob"the Torch," Torricelli

by JOHN FUND June 3, 2016 4:00 AM @JOHNFUND Plan B for November

Hillary Clinton’s mounting political — and possibly legal — problems over her e-mail server led me to write a column speculating that Democrats might move to install Vice President Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee if her poll numbers tank between now and the Democratic convention in late July. Biden might be joined on the ticket by fiery progressive senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in an effort to placate furious backers of Senator Bernie Sanders.

My NRO colleague Andrew C. McCarthy called my suggestion “increasingly plausible,” and pointed out that Democrats had made just such a switch in 2002 when their one-vote Senate majority was in jeopardy. An ethically challenged senator, Bob Torricelli of New Jersey, was trailing his GOP opponent by double-digit margins following release of a devastating Justice Department report on his involvement in bribery and campaign-finance scandals. Democrats made Torricelli “an offer he couldn’t refuse,” forcing him to leave the Senate race only 36 days before the election and replacing him with former senator Frank Lautenberg. “The lateness of the switcheroo denied Republicans a meaningful opportunity to campaign against Lautenberg, in violation of state election laws,” writes McCarthy. “But New Jersey’s solidly Democratic judiciary predictably looked the other way.” Lautenberg went on to win in November (although Democrats still lost their Senate majority, and didn’t regain it until 2006).

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