N.J. Senate Candidate Douglas Forrester

This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, October 1, 2002. Click here to order the entire transcript of the show.

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FRANK LAUTENBERG (D), FORMER NEW JERSEY SENATOR: I say to my opponent tonight that I am going to fight just as hard, just as energetically against the things that he stands for, in terms of letting the polluter off the hook or not being sure whether he's for a woman's unfettered right to choose.


VAN SUSTEREN: Democratic Senator Robert Torricelli bows out and Frank Lautenberg steps in. But what do Republican say about it?

Doug Forrester is the Republican candidate for Senate in New Jersey. He joins us from Philadelphia.

Welcome, Doug.

DOUG FORRESTER (R), NEW JERSEY SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you for having me. I appreciate being here.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Doug. Did you listen to Senator Lautenberg tonight?

FORRESTER: Well, I saw a couple clips. You know, we don't really know what the courts are going to decide with regard to this election.

I've just been moving ahead, as I always have been for the past nine months, to raise the issues about national security, getting more resources back to New Jersey for environmental cleanup, for roads and bridges, for Medicare, for hospitals.

You know, New Jersey is last among all the states and has been for quite a while.

VAN SUSTEREN: But in terms of -- but in terms of the election, you must admit that it's a lot different today than it was about 36 hours ago for you.

FORRESTER: Well, it is in one sense because the issue of Mr. Torricelli's conduct is kind of off the table, and that overshadowed everything.

You know, I've been talking about these issues of national security and protecting families and getting more money back from New Jersey in our fair allocation.

But that always seemed to get overshadowed because there -- you know, somebody was getting sentenced or there was some story about allegations and corroboration of...

VAN SUSTEREN: Was it a dirty...


VAN SUSTEREN: Was it a dirty political race, do you think, or a fair race that you had with Senator Torricelli?

FORRESTER: You know, at this point, I believe that it's important for me to emphasize that I've been running for the United States Senate. There have been various opponents at various times. You know, I went through a primary. I've gone through and engaged Mr. Torricelli in a couple of debates and a lot of discussion. I --

But I continue to press home the issues that New Jerseyans want better representation. You know, for years, they have not been represented adequately in terms of national defense or Social Security protection or getting the resources back that New Jersey deserves.

VAN SUSTEREN: In terms of the race, do you anticipate that, if the court rules against the Republicans and Senator -- and former Senator Lautenberg is on the ballot, or if he is going to be the popular write-in candidate for the Democrats, would you agree to debate him again, or do you think that part of the campaign and the race is over?

FORRESTER: I believe that it's important to make sure that New Jerseyans hear the differences between me and any other candidate. You know, I believe I'm the strongest voice. I believe -- I've always believed that.

I believe that those who heard us on the debates with Mr. Torricelli or heard me during the debates during the primary came to that conclusion. We don't know what the courts are going to decide.

You know, I certainly can't say that I'm running against anybody at this point except the person who's on the ballot, which, interesting enough, is Mr. Torricelli.

But, you know, I'm not bashful. I'm eager to talk about the issues. I always have been.

New Jersey has been last. We need to be in our rightful place. We need more money. New Jersey deserves it. I'm the guy to get it, eager to get to the United States Senate to make sure that happens.

It's only 30 days or a few more now. I'm looking forward to November 5 and having New Jerseyans say, "Yes, yes. We need new leadership, and this guy isn't bashful. He's got a good record of business, a good record of government. He is going to go to Washington and represent our interests."

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think of the New Jersey Supreme Court? I'm sure that you've taken a look at the court. Do you think it's a pretty fair court because they're going to be looking at this problem starting tomorrow.

FORRESTER: I can only trust that the judicial process is going to conclude the best way to protect New Jersey's election process. It's very unusual.

You know, the election actually has begun. There are people who have already voted. Ballots have been printed, they've been distributed, and some people have actually returned them, and -- you know, our men and women in uniform who, ironically, are -- you know, are defending our freedom to vote, you know, I think are at issue here.

But I have just, you know, left that to those who are going to protect the integrity of this election and probably future elections.  I'm talking about the issues, always have been.

One of the big ones, you know, of course, is off the table now because Mr. Torricelli, apparently, has stepped aside in some fashion.

But I'm just here to talk about how to get New Jersey up from the bottom of the pile to get the resources that we need to keep New Jersey strong. That's always been my focus.

VAN SUSTEREN: But you -- but, you know, you have to admit -- I mean, the race has become pretty bizarre. I mean, it started out you...


VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I mean -- and to put -- I mean, I don't know how else to explain it, you know. A day and a half ago, you were running against Senator Torricelli. Then you were running against nobody. Now you may have an opponent in former Senator Lautenberg. This is -- is this your first race?

FORRESTER: Well, it's my first statewide race, and I was warned when I got into the race against Mr. Torricelli that it would be unlike any I could possibly imagine, and it certainly...

VAN SUSTEREN: Well -- so how is it for you? So how -- I mean -- so it is -- I mean, what's it like for you? I mean, it's -- I mean, it's -- you know, frankly, it looks bizarre at this point.

FORRESTER: Well, there are a lot of interesting twists and turns, but, you know, in one sense, those twists and turns have helped me keep my eye on the ball, and my eye is not on any particular candidate because there have been a lot of different candidates at different times.

I've been able to focus really on New Jersey. One of the great things is that I've fallen in love with New Jersey all over again. I moved to here, you know, 27 years ago. My parents never went to college. My dad never even finished high school. But I've been married to my high school sweetheart for 27 years.

I had the great opportunity of coming to New Jersey, falling in love with the state, and I've done it all over again. New Jersey is a great state, hardworking people full of the American spirit. This is exactly...

VAN SUSTEREN: And -- and, Doug, I've got to cut you off because we've got to go, but I do hope you'll come back after we get that ruling from the New Jersey Supreme Court, and we'll talk about this some more. Appreciate you joining us this evening.

FORRESTER: Thank you. I'll be talking about the same things, how to protect New Jersey's interests. Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Thank you.

Click here to order the entire transcript of the October 1 edition of On the Record.

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