Governor’s Race Chatter Starting Already

Now that the Presidential Campaign is through, New Jersey residents are turning their attention to the upcoming Governor Campaign. Current Governor Chris Christie has already applied his papers for re-election, but there has yet to be a definite for which Democrat hopeful is going to step up and run against him.

Christie’s recent popularity is stemming from his major success after Hurricane Sandy.

An article in The Star Ledger sourced a post Sandy poll from Quinnipiac University, showing the Governor’s high approval rating. According to the poll Christie’s approval rating up to 72 percent, the highest of any New Jersey Governor.

According the poll, he is even popular among the high amount of Democrats in NJ. Fifty two percent of Democrats approve of Chris Christie, something that Monmouth University sophomore political science major Saliha Younas would agree with.

According to Younas, “Even though I am a Democrat and my opinion of Chris Christie was not high in the beginning, after Hurricane Sandy it has changed. I liked the way he worked with the President and put aside party politics in order to handle the situation.”

Junior communication major, Daniel Gunderman says that his opinion of the Governor has not changed. “My opinion of him has only been solidified by Hurricane Sandy. Day in and day out, he battled illness and fatigue to be at all the majorly impacted areas from the storm. He even struck down reporters when they crossed the line, telling them that politics was second to his state’s recovery. He’s been unparalleled leader.”

Gunderman goes on, “Chris Christie is a very intriguing political figure; at times he shows unmistakable wit and knowledge of the political system, as I believe he did while handling the Hurricane Sandy, Governor’s office and White House relationship by silently furthering his hopes of running for future office during the matter.”

He continues, “He (Christie) genuinely cares about the people of his state. Conversely at times he shows some bursts of distinct sarcasm and force, which I think makes him a much idealized, influential voice.”

His overwhelming popularity at the moment makes it out to seem that Christie will be a tough matchup. Dr. Patrick Murray, Director of the Polling Institution at the University disagrees with this.

According to Murray, “We know from past history that horse race polls this far ahead of an election has little to no predictive value about what will actually happen. Campaigns have not gotten underway yet and the underlying numbers indicate the governor’s handling of the storm have put him in a strong position for re-election. The question is whether this bump will last or if other issues will be more important to voters when November 2013 rolls around. No poll can predict that.”

According to Dr. Joseph Patten, Chairman of the Political Science Department, a lot can happen between now and November 2013, “Many people point to the fact that George H.W. Bush also had high approval ratings and he lost his bid for re-election” but it still hurts Democrats as Patten adds “His high approval ratings will certainly affect who runs against him, it likely will make possible challengers stay home in the race.”

While Christie has an overwhelming support from the New Jersey residents, there is another competitor that has everyone on the edge of their seats to run.

The current Democratic favorite is Newark Mayor Corey Booker, nicknamed New Jersey’s superman. Even Christie supports, such as Gunderman, would like to see Booker officially join the race. “Although I like Christie, I think that an interesting counterpart for the ticket next year would be Newark’s Mayor Corey Booker. He has shown a lot of poise governing one of the state’s biggest cities, and could really make the debates and propaganda quite interesting.”

The conventional wisdom in NJ.is that Newark Mayor Corey Booker would mount the strongest challenge against Christie.

Booker is very popular around the country, and is seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party. His 1.2 million followers on Twitter see firsthand how he interacts with people directly every day. Booker has not stated whether or not he will run but said that he needs more time to decide following Hurricane Sandy. The storm is going to play a crucial role in his decision to run, as Mayor Booker has been working closely with Christie and is focused on the residents of Newark.

The relationship between Christie and Booker has not been the typical Democrat/Republican relationship. They both appeared in a video together, poking fun at Booker’s popularity in the state over Christie. Booker has also called Christie an “Indispensable partner” in dealing with the school systems of Newark.

Booker, however, could be the Democrats’ only hopes. A recent poll has him losing to Governor Christie 36-50 percent, a much closer margin than the 20-60 percent State Senator Barbara Buono is losing to Governor Christie.

This same poll stated that Booker is the clear favorite in the race for the democratic nomination. He gained 46 percent support from Democrats across the state.

If Booker does not run for Governor, he has another possible position he could run for in 2014 with the next Senate election in N.J. In the general, Booker does almost as well, beating possible opponent Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno by 23 points. Democrats may need to realize that a failed governors bid by Booker will hurt him in a Senate race that looks like it could be a layup for Democrats to win. Booker also has much more of a National appeal. He was a frequent campaigner for President Obama during his re-election traveling across the country. He also was given a prime-time speaking spot at the Democratic National Convention.

According to Politickernj.com, Democrats in NJ would rather Booker ran for Senate, and hope for a great campaign from one of the relative unknown possible candidates for the Democratic nomination. No matter which position he decides to go for he will become a major player in New Jersey politics.

Other Democratic possible nominees are State Senator Barbara Buono, State Senator Richard Codey, Assemblyman John Wisniewski, and Senate President Steve Sweeney.