Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Election Day 2009

Today marks another election day and while there are only a handful of important races around the country, the New Jersey governor's race is probably the one that should be most closely watched. President Obama has been to the state three times, making four appearances for incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine and the President even taped a robocall for Corzine. Despite outspending his opponents, most of the polls show Republican Christie ahead.

New Jersey's economy is in shambles and the tax burden in the state is the worst in the nation, no thanks to Corzine. Corzine raised the sales tax to fund property tax relief that materialized for all of one year, before he had to sharply limit the rebate all while taxes continued rising. Now, we've got a higher sales tax, higher property taxes, and a property tax rebate that doesn't address the fundamental issues of why the taxes keep rising - out of control government spending.

If Christie can't win with that background, the GOP has serious issues. While the state's demographics may tend to favor Corzine due to Democrats outnumbering registered Republicans, across the board there is serious dissatisfaction with the way that Corzine has run the state. That dissatisfaction has to translate into votes against Corzine.

Should Christie win, it can and should be seen as a major defeat for President Obama, who has essentially run Corzine's campaign, with multiple appearances and providing personnel to assist and run the campaign.

Whoever wins today will have to deal with: multibillion dollar structural deficits; a state workforce that has to be reduced; pension obligations that must be fully funded; a transportation trust fund that is underfunded and needs long term restructuring; and education funding that is unaffordable and unsustainable without improvement in student performance.

That's a mess that should given anyone pause about what they're about to undertake for the next four years, except that Corzine has already shown himself incapable of dealing with the mess. In fact, Corzine expanded education funding to eliminate court mandated Abbott school funding. The problem is that the state can't afford the funding formula he proposed, and all the extra funding since the court mandated funding for the Abbott districts never translated into improved student performance. It was merely a sop for the unions.

It's hilarious reading about how Corzine is trying to downplay the national nature of his reelection campaign and the NJ political race. He's only had the President rally for him four times in the state. Corzine's campaign is run by a bunch of Obama people.

So, while most attention will be on NY-23 and the race between Doug Hoffman and Bill Owens, the real bellweather will be NJ. If Christie can pull out the win in the strong blue state, that's a signal that Obama's coattails are in tatters and signals that the GOP isn't in as bad shape as many thought, and GOP positioning for 2010 may be better than expected.

However, if Christie can't win in the NJ political environment where Corzine has such high negatives, the GOP has bigger problems than the situation in NY-23.

Are NJ Democrats using gangbangers to get out the vote? That's the allegations provided here; one of the sources is a cop who recognized one of the thugs as someone he had previously arrested.
That is what happened Sunday on a quiet street in Morris Township. The officer, who’s name we are with holding, specifically heard the men discussing that he was a police officer and that they now know where he lives. The officer confronted the men and they took off. He contacted the local police who responded and caught up with them and about a dozen other men a few blocks away. According to the police report, the men were known criminals and when asked why they were in the neighborhood they stated they were “campaigning for the Democratic Party.”
I expect to see more of these kinds of claims through the day.

Also, there are concerns that absentee ballots may include fraudulent ballots because Democrats have requested that signature checking procedures be suspended.

Jim at Parkway Rest Stop has some advice for New Jerseyeans going to the polls. Think about if you think that the state needs real change and if you're happy with the direction that the state is headed under Corzine.

That ties into a message by Mike Flynn at Big Government, who notes that fiscal conservatism needs to make a comeback in a big way, and that part of the reason that Scozzafava found herself kicked to the curb had to do with her support for profligate spending at a time when people are concerned about job creation in the private sector.

No comments: