No surprises here with Christie and Corzine winning.
Lonegan's showing with 42% of the vote is respectable. Christie's 13% margin of victory was significantly smaller than Quinnipiac, FDU and Monmouth/Gannett predicted. Rassmussen, who has Christie leading Corzine by 13% in a post primary poll, came closest of all the pollsters, predicting 11%.
Steve's showing and the fact that Christie had to fight as hard as he did, especially after sweeping the conventions, sends a message that I hope the GOP establishment, both nationally and in NJ hear and heed.
The message is not a question of conservative vs moderate. Rather, it is a call to produce a smaller and less wasteful government that serves the people, not a government that serves career politicians, government workers and special interests. The GOP failed to deliver that the last time it controlled Trenton and the last time it controlled Washington. Now we must deliver. That is the message.
The Acceptance Speeches
Fortunately, Chris Christie got the message. In his speech, which can be viewed in three parts on youtube, Chris promised to tackle the problems facing New Jersey head on and produce results, where others have worked around our structural problems and made them worse.
I was very pleased that Chris chose to highlight education, and his commitment to making New Jersey's education system work in his speech. I hope he makes it the highlight of his general election campaign.
Patrick Murray's Monmouth University/Gannett poll indicates that New Jersey voters' #1 concern is property taxes. The property tax problem will not and can not be brought under control without fixing education. New Jersey voters know this.
Since the Abbott decision, billions of dollars have been flushed in to 31 school districts for salaries, construction and overtime to school bus drivers for the time spent charging their cell phones. The dollars are making school administrators, teachers, construction companies and other interests wealthy, but they are not educating the kids.
The residents, parents and children of the former Abbott Districts know this to be true. Suburban parents and property tax payers know it to be true. The disparity between urban education funding ( it is not aide, it is funding) and suburban education funding is at the point to where it is putting the quality of education in suburban school districts at risk.
By transforming the measure of "thorough and efficient" from dollars spent to kids learning, New Jersey can create a bright future to families and children who are now weeping when they win the charter school lottery. We can also solve our statewide property tax problem. Chris Christie should make such a plan to cornerstone of his campaign. Not only is it the right thing to do, it is smart politics.
Then only thing
Corzine and the Democrats made it clear during the primary that they don't want to run against Chris Christie. They did that by spending $1.2 million to try to derail Christie's nomination.
Corzine still doesn't want to run against Christie, so he is going to run against George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and John Ashcroft (a reference to the Deferred Prosecution Agreements that Christie award while he was U. S Attorney).
President Obama and Vice President Biden will be in New Jersey lots to help Corzine.
Corzine will make abortion, and somewhat surprisingly, gay marriage, an issue in this campaign.
Christie wins the abortion issue by calling for the ongoing reduction of abortion and the prohibition of late term abortions. That is now the mainstream popular position.
He wins the gay marriage debate by calling for equal rights for all people, but distinguishing marriage as between one man and one woman. Corzine will have a problem with this issue as Christie's position is closer to Obama's than Corzine's is.
On his record, Corzine doesn't stand a chance. However, this will be a race and Christie is the underdog because of the Obama factor and most importantly money.
Corzine will spend as much as he has to in order to create the public perception that Christie is an out of the mainstream Bush/Cheney clone who is ethically challenged. Corzine's ego can't stand the thought of being fired from both Goldman Sachs and not re-elected Governor. He will spend what ever he thinks he has to.