As Governor Chris Christie and Democratic nominee and state Senator Barbara Buono (D-18) exchange words as they move closer to November’s election, there have been multiple state officials who have weighed in on the state of the race and the two candidates. There have been a series of endorsements for both and polls. A handful of Democrats have even come out voicing support for Governor Christie; something that has been met with criticism by other various Democrats in the state.
There hasn’t been too much coming from outside of the Garden State. However, two northeastern Democratic governors have joined the governor’s race conversation targeting what they view as Christie’s weak record and the poor state of New Jersey’s economy in his reelection effort.
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley both see Christie are far from a lock to be reelected regardless of good favorability numbers and a large edge in the polls against Buono.
“When you look at any objective measures of job performance, you’re sort of pressed to find any evidence of a ‘New Jersey Comeback. And I think the people of New Jersey months from now when they’re presented with the choice they’re going to choose to move forward rather than continue to fall back.”
He would add,
“His unemployment rate is higher now than it was I think when he took office. It’s one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, one of the slowest rates of economic growth. Property taxes are 20 percent higher than they were under Governor Corzine.”
O’Malley and Christie have sparred at times the last couple years as they both are influential members of their respective governor association and they could be potential nominees for their party for president in three years.
While for Shumlin,
“The middle class is getting kicked in the teeth in New Jersey. He vetoes income tax increases for the millionaires and billionaires and tells the middle class they have to pay more. This is a winnable race.”
Shumlin is the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) and would certainly like to return the governor of the Garden State back to the Democratic Party as the DGA will look between 2013 and 2014 to pick up or reclaim governor’s seats lost between 2009 and 2010.
After hearing the comments of O’Malley and Shumlin, Christie political strategist Mike DuHaime would express;
“Governor Christie has cut business taxes, spurred private sector job growth, shrank the size of government and balanced three budgets in a row, all without ever raising taxes. Governor O’Malley is long on bluster and short on facts.”
He would continue,
“New Jersey families do not appreciate the governor of Vermont suggesting we should raise taxes here. He would have fit right in during the Corzine-Buono era of job-killing high taxes and wasteful spending.”
Christie does have solid poll numbers against Buono, the state is witnessing an improving economy and job numbers throughout 2013, and Buono is still looking to boost her name statewide along with funds. However, as Shumlin hinted at; this race is far from a guaranteed slam dunk for Christie. There are certainly obstacles in front of Buono but with four months to go; one can never say never in politics. Outside money and voices will likely increase especially down the stretch. And with limited marquee contests this year, there will be a major spotlight on New Jersey as well as Virginia this Fall.
Do not be surprised if either Shumlin via his role with the DGA or O’Malley due to his feelings towards Christie chime back in before November.