Could Christie's education agenda be swept in on his coattails?

Lauren Williams's picture
Thursday, August 1, 2013

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono appears to have acquired a reverse momentum in her long-shot campaign. With three months until the election, a combination of elements drag her down, including weak fundraising, lack of support from national and state party powerbrokers, and a charismatic opponent.

More than 37 Democratic officials have endorsed Christie. Milly Silva, the union vice president whom Buono just chose as her lieutenant governor, has a prospective political appeal that mirrors that of her running mate, further narrowing any plausible road to the governor’s office.

So let’s call it now: Christie will win in November. Until recently, however, conventional wisdom has confined this victory to the governor alone. He has no coattails, said the pundits; according to a Quinnipiac University poll earlier this summer, “Christie’s only good for Christie.” All 120 seats are up in the state Senate and the Assembly, but the Christie shoo-in will provide no lift to Republican candidates.

Times change. Buono’s campaign is underperforming, and the governor seems determined to run up the spread in order to make a hefty national impact. Patrick Murphy, a pollster at Monmouth University, has suggested that Christie’s self-serving decision to hold the special election for the late Frank Lautenberg’s U.S. Senate seat in October may depress Democratic turnout in November, which could benefit Republican contenders.

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