As the Wall Street Journal reports:
Some observers chalk up Mr. Corzine’s troubles to the recession, with shrunken budgets across the nation making many states’ governors unpopular. Others say he is a poor politician who squandered chances to address the state’s tax burden and slim its bloated bureaucracy. Last month, more than half of all voters polled by Quinnipiac University said they disapproved of Mr. Corzine’s performance, and 60% don’t like the way he is addressing the economy.
And then there are the ethics issues:
Hanging over his first term have been reminders about his former relationship with Carla Katz when she was the local branch head of the CWA. Once in office, Mr. Corzine was accused of having back-channel labor negotiations with her. The union fired Ms. Katz in 2008, accusing her of misusing dues for personal expenses. Mr. Corzine wasn’t implicated in the union’s investigation, and a state ethics panel cleared Mr. Corzine of wrongdoing.
Some voters say Mr. Corzine has done little to fulfill a vow made in his 2006 inaugural address that “my highest priority will be ethics reform.” Mr. Corzine’s package of proposed ethics changes has been delayed by the budget debate, lawmakers say.
All that said, New Jersey remains an overwhelmingly Democratic state and Corzine has a ton of his own money (well, not as much as he used to) to flood the media with ads. But it will be an interesting test of two issues that may be at the heart of the 2010 congressional races: economic mismanagement (New Jersey’s deficit is projected to go as high as $9B in 2010) and ethics (Speaker Pelosi might want to get cracking on “draining the swamp” before Murtha, Moran, et al. become the poster boys in the 2010 ad campaign). Many interested observers will be looking on.