The Washington Post reports:
New Jersey and Virginia are the only states with governor’s races this year, so both are taking on outsize importance as the first major national barometers of the public mood toward President Obama and his ambitious agenda on the economy and health-care reform. National Republicans, after two election cycles of huge losses, are looking at the two races to begin what they hope to claim as the beginnings of a comeback.
Like other sitting governors, Corzine, a former Wall Street executive, has been in office during a period of severe economic decline, with unemployment in New Jersey at 9.3 percent. Corzine has slashed the state’s budget, cut programs, furloughed public workers and shuttered some state offices for several days.
None of those moves has helped Corzine’s popularity. Among likely voters in the Quinnipiac poll, 57 percent said they had an unfavorable view of Corzine and 60 percent disapproved of the job he is doing as governor. “I think [people] are just fed up with Corzine,” Bulvid said.
The Post tells us the race has turned “nasty.” Republican candidate Chris Christie made a loan to a subordinate whose husband lost his job but didn’t report the loan or the interest paid to him. He also had a traffic stop but no ticket (the horror!) in 2005. Corzine’s party and one of his cabinet members, on the other hand, have been snared in a huge corruption bust, which you would not know that from the Post‘s account, which omits to mention the number of arrests (44) or the involvement of Corzine’s cabinet member. But to the Post‘s dismay:
All the mudslinging has done little to change the dynamic of the race, which Christie has been leading all year. “That’s one of the surprising things,” said Brigid Harrison, a professor of political science and law at Montclair State University. “There hasn’t been a whole lot of movement away from Christie.”
Oh, just wait, the Post‘s reporter assures us—the campaign will begin “in earnest after Labor Day.” Maybe the Post can find an old Christie term paper to help give Corzine that extra nudge.