Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Political Fallout in NJ
So the Governor Resigns. If you want to know why, read QandO or Wizbang. My job tonight is to explain the fallout. Actually its not a job done by me. This is courtesy of my good friend Ellis Oster, former RNC insider and current President of Cornell Federalist Society.

Here's the deal. In 2005, only two states have governors up for reelection - Virginia and New Jersey. The Republicans had high hopes in picking up New Jersey - as the incumbent, McGreevey was unpopular. Phenomonally unpopular. So unpopular that the Republican's were licking their chops and wealthy NJ Democrat Senator Corzine was rumored to be considering a primary challenge against McGreevey. Now McGreevey is out, and the Republicans have lost the advantage of running against an unpopular governor who was going to probably face a tough primary.

In terms of succession NJ does not have a Lt. Governor so the successor would be the president of the Senate - Richard J. Codey, 57, and a Democrat. A democrat without experience campaigning statewide.

Going against the Dems may be Schundler - former mayor of Jersey City Schundler won primary against the former Gov. Bob Franks, and ran as a hard core pro-life, social conservative. He became quite popular for his proposal to eliminate the tolls, but still lost by a good margin to McGreevy in the next eleciton. Since then however he has been gathering strenght for a retry in 2005.

Now comes the interesting part. In a head to head campaign, Schundler would likely beat Cody, as Schundler, the Republican who lost in the last election, is the one who has proven he knows how to run a statewide campaign. But if Cody puts party loyalty ahead of personal ambition by stepping aside and convincing Corzine to run, things change. Corzine has enough money to self finance a campaign so large that it would be difficult for Schundler to win.

So this can come out either way for the Republicans - having lost the chance to run against McGreevy they might either get a weaker Cody, or a stronger Corzine.

Thanks also to Bo Cowgill for helping me put this together.

Update: This piece here comes to different conclusions then Ellis:

Just last month, Quinnipiac pollster Clay Richards had described McGreevey as re-electable.
"With Election Day more than a year away, Gov. McGreevey is beginning to look like the comeback kid," said Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Richards made that statement after his poll showed McGreevey had pulled off a better approval rating -- 45 percent -- than the 39 percent of respondents who disapproved of the governor’s job performance......
That was newsworthy because McGreevey hadn’t seen a higher approval rating in 19 months


"Only 34 percent want to see him re-elected, while 51 percent would prefer someone else."

The article also speaks on who would likely be on top of the ticket for the Dems

Sen. Jon Corzine and U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews are the two names most mentioned as possible replacements for McGreevey, if that scenario develops.

Also, Pollster Richards disagrees with Ellis about the electability of Schundler or of any Republican for NJ Governor for that matter.
Meanwhile, Republicans have yet to produce a viable statewide candidate who appeals to the populace.

"The Republicans haven’t found that someone else to beat McGreevey. And you can’t beat someone with a nobody," Richards cautioned last month.

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