Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The polls in the New Jersey governor's race show incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine with, at best, a very narrow advantage over Chris Christie, his leading Republican opponent. For whom is that good news?
On one hand, Corzine's numbers are far below 50%. Christie, despite his reputation as a corruption-busting U.S. Attorney, isn't universally known. There's some reason to believe that once he tells his story, he'll be the favorite to win.
On the other hand, Corzine, despite dealing with perpetual budget problems that were a gift from his predecessors, still leads in most polls. That's before he starts spending any of his substantial fortune to make the case for another four years.
Plus, that's before Christie has to compete in what looks like a lively Republican primary (albeit one in which he is the favorite) and before most voters know anything about him other than his prosecutions of public officials. So, there's some reason to believe that Christie is a bit like Lynn Swann in Pennsylvania in 2006: The high point of his campaign will end up being the day he announced his candidacy.
Which perspective is right? I don't know. But I do think New Jersey Republicans this year have their best chance to win a statewide race since Christie Todd Whitman left office, which is why Stuart Rothenberg writes: "Gubernatorial Race Will Show if Jersey GOP Has a Pulse."
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