By Alan Steinberg | July 23rd, 2009 - 4:04pm
| More

There is no evidence that Governor Jon Corzine personally is connected in any way to the alleged criminal deeds that form the basis of the arrests of politicians, political operatives, and rabbis announced today by the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s office.  His Community Affairs Commissioner Joe Doria, who resigned this morning at Corzine’s request, is being investigated, although we do not yet know what the outcome of the investigation will be.  If Doria is indicted, this would implicate the Corzine administration, although not Corzine himself.

Regardless of whether or not Doria is indicted, however, Corzine has lost the only strategy that could reelect him – an onslaught of television commercials attacking the ethics of his Republican opponent and former U.S.Attorney Chris Christie.  The Corzine reelection campaign is now all but doomed.

Whether you like or dislike him, Chris Christie is a highly ethical and moral man - a point I have repeatedly stressed, even in articles where I criticized his positions and the strategy of his campaign.  The Corzine commercials attacking Christie’s ethics have been distortions, plain and simple.

Yet, in the words of the famous Chicago author Finley Peter Dunne, “politics ain’t beanbag.”  Although these Corzine commercials have been distortions, they are well within the bounds of what is unfortunately considered to be acceptable political tactics by pundits and consultants of both parties.

These commercials also had a chance of being effective.  According to the Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll released last week, a surprisingly high 34% of all registered voters had no opinion of Chris Christie.  Since January, 2009, in terms of favorable/unfavorable ratings, Christie’s favorables had only increased by one point, and his unfavorables had climbed by twelve.  Christie’s eight point lead among likely voters, 45%-37% was very soft – roughly 35% of these likely Christie voters indicated that they could change their mind.  So Christie was vulnerable to a negative attack strategy, even on ethics, which ironically is his strongpoint.

Moreover, it was clear that only a negative strategy could win reelection for Jon Corzine.  The Monmouth/Gannett poll released two days ago proved most graphically that it was impossible for Corzine to convey any positive winning message – he averaged a C- grade from the electorate and a 51% disapproval rating. 

Now, with today’s announcements of the arrests, the Corzine negative strategy has been rendered totally ineffectual.  The public is aware that Chris Christie shepherded this investigation during his tenure, and this gives him a shield of invulnerability on ethics issues.  Most significantly, however, the “New Jersey culture of corruption issue”, which had registered as a top issue with only 5% of all likely voters in the Monmouth/Gannett Poll is now certain to skyrocket.  This is an issue which Chris Christie owns.

So now, Corzine is left with no possibly effective negative strategy against Christie.  If Joe Doria is charged with any crime, the former U.S. Attorney’s status as a corruption fighter is certain to propel him to a landslide victory rivalling that of Bill Cahill in 1969, Brendan Byrne in 1973, and Tom Kean in 1985.

I never took seriously the thought of Corzine withdrawing from the race a la Bob Torricelli in the 2002 New Jersey U.S. Senate race.  But I do now.  Query:  Is that Dick Codey I see putting on his running shoes?

Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush. Region 2 EPA consists of the states of New York and New Jersey, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and seven federally recognized Indian nations.   

The Back Room

Names on the LD7 GOP bench

In the event that state Sen. Diane Allen (R-7) doesn't run for re-election in 2017, the party has a short list of possible candidates it could field to try to head off either Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-7) or Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-7).

Read More >

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: July 29th

  Faced with violent crime wave, Baraka, Fulop and Torres forge three-city partnership JERSEY CITY – And then there were three. That’s what it looked like, at least, when a late-arriving and widely beaming Paterson Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres in cream-colored suit joined political allies Jersey City Mayor Steve...

Op-Ed

The health of New Jersey's women is not Chris Christie's priority

By Linda Stender At his most recent town hall, Gov. Chris Christie accused his predecessors of "monkeying with the math" when it comes to their handling of our state's economy. But as the old saying goes, when the governor points a finger, he... Read More >

Contributors

 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »
(7-23-14) Rabner Opinion Keeps “Christie for President” Alive - Gov. Chris Christie’s fight to prevent same-sex marriage in New Jersey ended with Chief Justice Stuart Rabner.... more »
The Perry-Paul Debate is Healthy for the GOP – and for America  The foreign policy debate in the media between prospective GOP Presidential candidates Texas Governor Rick Perry and... more »
(Washington DC)-- Two recent votes on Capitol Hill suggest an overdue and radical departure from our nation's Draconian and costly War on Drugs.  It's a long-overdue discussion (and not just... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"And here was Christie — a tell-it-like-it-is, straight-talking, no-nonsense Jersey guy — telling about 60 members of the media what he really thought. 'Governor Branstad is a role model for me,' Christie gushed, referring to his 67-year-old counterpart from Iowa."

- The New York Times

Poll

Given another chance, who would you choose to run the county RIGHT NOW?:

Blogroll

Visit the PolitickerNJ.com/resources page for links to the best collection of information on New Jersey state government.

 

  • Polls
  • The best blogs
  • Columnists
  • State election results
  • Assembly election results
  • Local party websites
  • And more.

PolitickerNJ.com/resources