Yet, good news for Trenton Democrats—the NJ Republicans are trying to lose
By Art Gallagher
1) A Quinnipiac poll released today indicates that Buono has made no progress over the last month in increasing her dismal name recognition. 78% of those polled don’t know enough about Buono to form an opinion. That compares to 79% last month. Of the few who recognize her name, 43% have an unfavorable opinion.
Christie’s numbers remain amazingly strong. 67% approve of the job he is doing as governor. 66% says he deserves to be reelected. In a head to head match up with Buono, Christie wins 58%-26%, with 13% out to lunch.
2) Even worse for Buono, PolitickerNJ reports that she is likely to be the only major party gubernatorial candidate in the history of New Jersey’s matching funds campaign program not to qualify for the maximum amount. PolitickerNJ said that Buono has raised only $29,000 per week since she declared her candidacy in December. In order to earn the maximum $2 million in state matching funds for the primary, she would have to raise $216,000 per week over the next six weeks of the primary campaign.
Christie has opted out of the state matching funds program and has raised upwards of $5 million to date for the primary.
Trenton Republicans Trying to Lose
With Chrisite’s polling and financial numbers so strong, one would think that the Trenton Democrats that control the legislature would be concerned about Christie coattails. Trenton Republicans seem enthused about the prospect of taking control of the legislature, but so far their campaign is deploying the stupidest strategy imaginable.
I’m not a professional political strategist, I just play one of the Internet. In my not so humble opinion the NJ GOP‘s campaign against Corzine Democrats is the dumbest political strategy since Christine O’Donnell declared she is not a witch.
It makes sense for Christie to call Buono a Corzine Democrat, as a funny line on the campaign trail, not as the theme for his campaign. Buono wrote Corzine’s budgets. The charge fits for her. It does not fit for many of the Democratic Senate and Assembly incumbents who can not be so easily tied to Corzine. One of the reasons Corzine was a failure as governor is that he couldn’t work with the legislature. Remember the government shut down in the summer of 2006? That happened because Corzine couldn’t get the Democratic legislature to approve his budget.
For Christie to base the theme of his reelection campaign as anti-Corzine Democrats would be like President Ronald Reagan running against Carter Democrats in his 1984 reelection campaign. Sure, Reagan quipped about going backwards if America elected Walter Mondale, Carter’s Vice President, but he won in 49 of 50 states because he created Morning in America without mentioning Carter’s name. But that’s not a real concern for Christie. Christie is riding high on the strength of his response to Superstorm Sandy and hasn’t articulated a theme for his second term yet. Unless Christie takes a state police helicopter to Disney World during a hurricane, he is going to beat an underfunded unknown opponent, theme or no theme.
My concern is for the legislature. They should stick to the theme of Finishing the Job. Run as Christie Republicans who will finish turning Trenton upside down, gut COAH, pass the property tax tool kit and confirm Christie’s NJ Supreme Court nominees.
A high level Republican consultant who was not involved in creating the Corzine Democrats strategy was diplomatic when I asked him about it. “Corzine is more unpopular now than he was when Christie beat him in 2009 because of his arrogance after the MF Global debacle, but hanging the Corzine noose around a candidate who was not prominently involved in his policies, like Buono was, will be a hard sell.”
Running against Corzine didn’t work for Joe Kyrillos last year in his contest versus Bob Menendez who was easily tied to Corzine. Why would Trenton Republicans think it will work for them this year?
Run a positive campaign as Christie Republicans who will Finish The Job of reducing the size of government, lowering property taxes, improving urban schools, and unleashing the economic engine that is being choked by the Sweeney and Oliver Democrats.