Governor Christie will be in Aberdeen today to accept the endorsement of the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) for his reelection bid.
Before wingnut conservatives get all crestfallen or disgusted, let me remind you that the Teamsters endorsed Ronald Reagan. A labor union’s endorsement doesn’t automatically make that Republican a RINO, unless you consider Reagan a RINO.
Yes, this means that New Jersey is not likely to become a “Right to Work” state so long as Christie is governor, It also means that we will continue to overpay “prevailing wage” on government funded and supported construction projects. As our friends at InTheLobby point out, it also explains why Christie has thwarted efforts to expand legalized gambling in New Jersey to race tracks, but those are all other stories.
What the LIUNA endorsement really means is that New Jersey Democrats are not likely to make a fight of the gubernatorial campaign in 2013. Christie’s post Sandy poll numbers make him look invincible. By locking up a major union endorsement early, Christie is creating an air of inevitability for reelection.
Governor Chris Christie told first responders and volunteers from Monmouth County’s Bayshore that he will seek an second term as New Jersey’s Chief Executive while speaking at a Season of Service event at the Port Monmouth Fire House in Middletown Township.
Christie said that his family unanimously supported his seeking a second term when they discussed it over the Thanksgiving weekend. He said that Hurricane Sandy played a role in his decision. “I think the one thing that strikes me right now is I have a job to finish. It would be wrong for me to leave now.”
In his remarks to the volunteers assembled at the fire house, Christie said, “I will not forget you,” as spoke of New Jerseyans determination to rebuild after the storm.
Democrats reportedly considering a challenge to Christie include Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Senate President Steve Sweeney, former acting Governor Richard Cody, State Senator Barbara Buono, Assemblyman John Wisniewski and Assemblyman Lou Greenwald.
The Democratic nomination is Booker’s for the taking. Booker is also considering a run for U.S. Senate in 2014.
Monmouth University Pollster Patrick Murray told The Star Ledger, “Bruce Springsteen would have to run against Chris Christie to make this a fair fight…But having said that, we’re still a long ways from next November.”
The Christie campaign has set up a temporary website here and is accepting donations here.
The three major credit rating agencies affirmed the credit ratings of New Jersey’s bonds within the last week. Two of the three, Moody’s and Fitch affirmed the outlook for the State’s credit as stable. However, while affirming their AA- rating today, Standard and Poor’s lowered their outlook for New Jersey from stable to negative. S&P’s rationale for lowering their outlook is that they consider Governor Chris Christie’s revenue projections optimistic.
Democratic legislators, Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Vincent Prieto, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, a potential gubernatorial candidate next year, all jumped on the S&P outlook downgrade to score political points against Christie. The Statehouse Press Corp was happy to advance the negative spin.
Monmouth County’s Declan O’Scanlon, the Assembly Republican Budget Officer, fired back against the Democrats and the media for “crowing” about the S&P report while falling mute over the Fitch and Moody’s reports is a scathing statement:
“My Democrat colleagues are like vultures seeking to pounce on potential prey despite the fact that their appetite will not be satisfied by one agency’s outlook,” said O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth. “They are always ready to jump on what they perceive to be negative news and many in the media buy into their political theatrics. Instead of working with the governor and Republicans in the Legislature, they continue to wait for gloom and doom predictions.
“The conduct and glee from our leading legislative Democrats is remarkable and disturbing. For days, they sat silent when two ratings agencies affirmed New Jersey’s credit rating in response to the Schools Development Corporation bond offering and today are dancing in the streets when a third rating agency – after also maintaining the state’s credit rating – gave an outlier’s opinion and lowered its outlook,” explained O’Scanlon. “To see this kind of political opportunism and rooting for failure from individuals entrusted with some of the highest leadership positions our government offers is disgraceful. Their Swiss cheese, fragmented perception of reality – with the holes miraculously lining up with anything positive about our state’s fiscal condition – is disturbing, but not surprising.”
“That our Statehouse press corps simply gobbles the partisan nonsense up so willingly is also a real disappointment, stated O’Scanlon. “That is especially so when you see them blindly quoting even those lawmakers who so vigorously fought bipartisan pension and benefits reforms in an effort that would have crippled New Jersey’s long-term efforts to fix our long-term economic health.
“Had we followed the path of the very people now attacking the Governor the outlook for the state’s future would be dramatically worse. They cannot, with a straight face, criticize this Governor with any credibility,” said O’Scanlon. “It was this governor that has started to turn our state around – and he had to fight the very people now attacking him in order to do that. The governor and Republicans know we are in a difficult economy and these are risky times. But we are also not afraid to make tough decisions. Previous Democrat administrations talked about tough times, but never took action. Without taking decisive action to fix many of our state’s problems,New Jerseywould be in a financial abyss.
“The Democrats’ are selling a bill of goods to the public and the media which conveniently ignores their eight-year record of expanding government spending and want us to believe their distorted view of reality,” commented O’Scanlon. “We have more work to do in turning our state around, but I am much more confident entrusting our state’s future with the Christie administration than its Democratic predecessors.”
Prior to last month the buzz about Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s future was that he would run for U.S. Senate in 2014, challenging Senator Frank Launtenberg if necessary. Booker opened a federal PAC last year and Lautenberg has been sniping at him ever since.
But in the weeks leading up to the convention Booker met with county chairs to plant the seeds of a gubernatorial run against Governor Chris Christie last year. In Charlotte he went into full campaign mode without making an announcement. In the process he made himself the front runner for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2013. A Booker candidacy for governor will clear the Democratic field. Without Booker in the race there will be a contentious primary. Senators Dick Codey, Barbara Buono and Steve Sweeney could be contenders. Assemblymen John Wisniewski and Lou Greenwald are acting like candidates. Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage says he will run if Booker doesn’t.
None of the other potential candidates will be able to gain any traction until Booker makes his intentions clear.
As a nod to Booker’s front runner status, Quinnipiac polled a Christie/Booker match up. Christie won the poll by 7%, but Booker’s name was recognised by 60% of those polled. That is an extraordinary high number for a New Jersey politician who has never run a statewide race. Booker has better name recognition than Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. He is as well known and better liked than U.S. Senator Bob Menendez.
Booker told the New Jersey delegation in Charlotte that Christie can be beat and that he is only governor because urban Democrats didn’t come out to vote for Jon Corzine in 2009. The implication is that he can get urban voters out, regardless of the desires of Democratic bosses George Norcross in the south and Joe DiVincenzo in the north who didn’t rev their machines for Corzine in 09.