Thursday, May 07, 2009

Corzine Trying to "Fix" Republican Primary?

Oh, man, only in Jersey is this kind of circus-like shennanigans possible:

Allies of New Jersey’s Democratic governor, Jon S. Corzine, are so worried about his re-election prospects that they are going to start spending and advertising heavily — in the Republican primary.

Mr. Corzine’s allies plan to attack the Republican they consider more formidable, the former federal prosecutor Christopher J. Christie, in an attempt to knock him out in the June primary, according to people briefed on the matter.

That would leave Mr. Corzine facing Steven M. Lonegan, a former small-town mayor from the party’s right wing, whose support for a flat income tax and a ban on abortion are popular with conservative voters, but could be a problem in the general election.

Mr. Christie has based his campaign almost entirely on his credentials as a corruption fighter, having obtained convictions of some 130 New Jersey politicians and public employees. and promises to bring the same forceful leadership to tackling the state’s fiscal problems. The Democratic assault, according to one of the people briefed on the plans, will aim to tarnish that image.

A desperate plan from a desperate man, I reckon. I believe Christie will survive this attack, as he has already survied others from frightened Corzine allies such as the ACLU, who smeared Christie with accusations of "abuses of power" that turned out to be anything but. Corzine still trails Christie, with polls showing leads over the embattled incumbant of anywhere of 4-9 points.

Six months out from election day, and Corzine is already using his unlimited wealth to go negative in the opposition's primary. This is going to be ugly, and the Republicans better be ready to fight back hard, or the state will retain Corzine for another four years, or until he is forced out, a la Rick Wagoner, in a bankruptcy hearing.

And speaking of forced out - Corzine's strategy here is reminicent of Gray Davis' strategy in the 2002 California governor's election, where he used his funds to defeat a tough Republican in their primaries and then cruise to an easy general election victory.

Does Corzine remember, though, what happened a short time after that? Enter the infamous California recall, say goodbye to Mr. Davis, and hello to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Desperate men win small victories, but always lose big in the end...

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