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The 2009 NJ Governor's Race: A Second Look

by Danny Pazos

Christie's new residence: Drumthwacket
In a state that voted heavily for Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate, in the presidential election, a Republican has won the 2009 gubernatorial election. On November 3rd Christie was elected governor of New Jersey, beating out his opponent. Jon Corzine. According to the associated press, 91% of voting precincts reported Mr. Christie with 49% of the vote, to Mr. Corzine’s 44%.

Unfortunately for independent Chris Daggett, he was only able to get about 5% of the vote. Daggett who was thought to be able to play the spoiler, may have taken votes away from Mr. Corzine.

The win for the Republican Party can be considered very surprising; due to the democratic type of state that New Jersey has been in the past. Unfortunately for the Republicans Mr. Christie will have to deal with a legislature that is largely made up of Democrats. Due to this type of majority, it may be difficult for Christie to, according to the associated press, “pick up Trenton and turn it upside down.”

With an election as long and as brutal as this one, the opinions of the heads of the political organizations on TCNJ’s campus had something to say about it. As a state school, TCNJ is very much affected by the issues discussed in this campaign. Both sides of the political coin were watching the election closely and were making the best moves possible to do what was right for their party.

With the Republican Party in national turmoil, the win in this election has helped them become grounded again. “I think it’s a big win for the Republicans” the head of the College Republicans, Nick Lukaszewicz said in an interview after the race was finished. “Washington changed the republicans,” Lukaszewicz said. Luskaszewicz was well aware of the troubles Governor elect Christie may be facing with the legislature in New Jersey, but offered words of confidence saying “He is going to have trouble with a Democratic majority in legislature, but hopefully Trenton got the message that the people are tired of high taxes and corruption in New Jersey.”

Mr. Corzine’s defeat in this race may, as Lukaszewicz said, be a message to Trenton and the rest of the state that New Jersey is fed up with the way politics have played out in the last few years. With Christie’s win, the people of New Jersey have spoken against the way Jon Corzine ran his campaign, spending $38 million in 2005, and around the same in this past election.

The College Democrats were not one-hundred percent behind Mr. Corzine in this race. “We voted to focus on other things due to a less than strong feeling for Corzine in this election,” said Brian Block, head of The College Democrats. Corzine’s inability to communicate in a public forum worried Block, but he believed that Corzine had the leadership skills behind the scenes to run the state correctly.

Throughout the election, polls showed Corzine down heavily in the summer, but slowly gaining ground on his opponent. “I’m not one for polls,” Block said, “but his favorability and job approval rating was a bit scary.”

In order to try and keep the Governor’s seat, Mr. Corzine spent his money on different ads and campaign outlets to gain support. Linking himself to president Obama, a move Block called “Very very smart,” Corzine attempted to rally the voters in any way possible, sometimes through ads depicting Mr. Christie in a very unflattering way. “His use of visual imagery is very smart as well,” Block said.

“The Corzine ads get Christie’s plans wrong and attempt to paint him in a different light,” Lukaszewicz said. Many of the Corzine ads claimed Mr. Christie did not support coverage for mammograms and immunizations for children, a claim that garnered swift response from Mr. Christie.

Throughout the campaign, Mr. Christie was very vague about what exactly he was going to do in order to fix all of the problems facing the state, including a close to $10 billion budget deficit. Both sides of the TCNJ political spectrum agreed on this topic. “They need to release more information, but I believe Christie will balance the budget on the backs of taxpayers,” Lukaszewicz said firmly. Brian Block gave a similar opinion saying, “He needs to say how he is going to do it, give us a concrete plan.”

With the election over and New Jersey’s tough situation to deal with, Mr. Christie has his work cut out for him.

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