Saturday, May 16, 2009

Corzine: Losing to Lonegan?

It is a tribute to the growing distaste and disdain for New Jersey governor Jon Corzine that recent polls in this blue state not only show him trailing moderate republican Chris Christie badly, but now losing to the much more conservative Steve Lonegan.

In his bid for re-election, New Jersey’s Democratic Governor Jon Corzine trails Republican challenger Chris Christie by nine percentage points. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Garden State voters shows Christie with 47% of the vote and Corzine with 38%.

The Governor does better when matched against Republican Steve Lonegan. In that case, it’s Lonegan with 42% and Corzine just a point behind at 41%.

Well, if you resorting to describing the position of a Democrat trailing a neocon in a blue state as "better", you know this Corzine fellah's in a wee bit of trouble.

But never fear - we're in Jersey here! More Monmouth Musings highlights the following passage in the poll analysis:

New Jersey polls often shows Republican candidates polling well in the spring and then shows Democrat gaining ground in the fall. A Republican has not won a statewide election in the Garden State since 1997. On a generic basis, 48% of New Jersey voters would like to see a Democrat as Governor while just 34% would prefer a Republican. T hat political gravity is almost certain to help the incumbent as Election Day draws near.

Maybe. But Christie is well known as a tough AG who had a perfect prosecution record when it counted:

... he has earned praise for his history of convictions for public corruption. During his tenure, Christie's office won convictions or guilty pleas from 130 public officials, both Republican and Democratic, on the state, county and local levels without losing a single case

Christie is a moderate in a state where center-right Republicans have won general elections before (Tom Kean, Christine Todd Whitman ). Note hear the glowing praise given to him after he resigned by the liberal Newark Star Ledger:

Christie snagged the federal appointment with nothing more to recommend him than prodigious accomplishments as a Republican Party fundraiser. Several lawyers' groups and The Star-Ledger editorial page said he lacked the experience to be a good federal prosecutor. All of us were wrong.

Whether it was his political ambition, as his critics claim, or a drive to deliver justice as he was sworn to do, Christie amassed an amazing record of 130 convictions against zero acquittals for the public officials he indicted.

Corzine has only one hope: attempt to flush the first four years of his stewardship of New Jersey down into a "memory hole", via a media blitz financed with tens of millions of his own dollars. Because if it's clear-eyed, clear-minded voters stepping into the booths on election day, Corzine is a goner.

Apparently, even if he's facing Lonegan...

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