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Lining up the endorsements

It’s part of every election – endorsements, both from individuals and from the newspapers. Given the decline of newspapers everywhere, the latter doesn’t hold the clout that it used to. But they’re interesting to see in New Jersey’s Gubernatorial Election, given the state’s very liberal political leanings and the unpopularity of the liberal incumbent.

Republican challenger Chris Christie, the former GWB-appointed U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, has been endorsed by three of Gannett’s New Jersey papers – the Courier-Post (Camden), the Courier News (Bridgewater) and the Home News Tribune (East Brunswick). Presumably, he’ll also be endorsed by Gannett’s other New Jersey papers (the Asbury Park Press and the Daily Record of Morristown) and, given its conservative editorial slant, the Trentonian.

Incumbent Jon Corzine has the backing of the two largest big city papers serving New Jersey – the New York Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Most surprisingly, the Star Ledger, New Jersey’s largest newspaper, has endorsed independent Chris Daggett.

Christie’s endorsements come from more community-oriented papers, Corzine’s from the big city ones that don’t cover New Jersey as thoroughly (especially these days).

Christie jumped out to a huge lead in this race by hammering Corzine on his record. But Corzine, with a rather large personal fortune to tap into, spent the summer running ads that defined Christie as another Bush type, a very toxic label in this state that has a strong aversion to anything Republican. The ads about Christie favoring the dropping of health insurance mandates, in particular for mammograms, were especially effective. Throw in the issue with the loan to his former assistant U.S. Attorney, the wrong way street traffic accident and the not-so-subtle shots at Christie’s…um…size, and he plummeted in the polls, with many of his votes not going to Corzine, but to Daggett. And Christie, without Corzine’s money or the ability to call in heavy hitters from the national party (I don’t think having Sarah Palin or Jim DeMint stump for you is a way to win over New Jersey), has had trouble fighting this shift in narrative.

There will be plenty of drama two weeks from tonight.


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