A tale of Two States

Although Election Day is not until November 3, 2009, the gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey are just about over.  Republican candidate Bob McDonnell will win in Virginia and Democrat Jon Corzine will be re-elected in New Jersey.

Virginia is the only state in the union which limits the governor to a single four-year term.  Tim Kaine, the incumbent would have been re-elected easily.  Instead, the office is being contested by Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds.  Bob McDonnell holds a 7% lead and I believe he would hold on to that lead until Election Day.  The Washington Post cited a White House Official for “throwing Creigh Deeds under the bus”, by distancing Obama from Deeds.  The unnamed official reportedly said “Creigh Deeds is bad for Creigh Deeds. Period” meaning that a Deeds’ loss is not a harbinger of doom for Obama.  My opinion is that Deeds made a big strategic mistake from the beginning of his campaign. In a traditionally Republican state, he attempted to distance himself from Obama so as to allay the fears of certain white rural voters who still retain some prejudice against African Americans.  In the process he managed to estrange himself from a large percentage of the Democrat voter base.  I would consider it a small miracle if Creigh Deeds manages to pull it off and win the election on Tuesday.

New Jersey is the highest taxed state in the nation if you combine property taxes with state, sales and business taxes. Just to give the reader an idea, the real estate tax on a house that is valued at $500,000 in some NJ municipalities can be as much as $18,000 a year (source: http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2009/09/_new_jersey_has_the.html). 

New Jersey has the highest automobile insurance premiums in the nation.  New Jersey is also considered one of the most corrupt states in the union.  The arrest of several NJ public officials in July 2009 proves the point.  Corzine increased the sales tax from 6% to 7%; suspended homestead tax rebates;  limited the real estate tax deduction to $10,000; tripled the deficit which his office projects to be 10 billion dollars next year;  and the most recent data indicates unemployment rate has increase to 9.7% (source:  http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2009/09/nj_unemployment_matches_us_rat.html)

But why will the voters return Corzine back into office?  Because more than anything else elections are about personalities.  Issues take a back seat to style and charisma of the candidates.  Jon Corzine does not have much of charisma or style but Chris Christie has even less.  Even though Christie has been a tough prosecutor his name alone denotes some kind of an effeminate weakness.  In campaign spending, Corzine has been outspending Christie 4 to 1.  Corzine’s attack ads portray Christie in negative light, from being in bed with insurance companies to being a fat slob.  The negative ads have taken their toll.  Christie was up 16% in some polls last month but the most recent polls show Corzine pulling ahead with a 2 point lead.  If charisma and style make elections, the Republican Party is in such a sad state of affairs in New Jersey.  The two candidates who competed in the GOP primary were obese Chris Christie and legally blind Steve Lonergan who appeared in several debates like he was wearing part of a squirrel for a hair piece.  This discussion will not be complete without mentioning independent candidate Chris Dagget.  There is no question Dagget would take votes away from Chris Christie.  I would consider it a major miracle if Chris Christie can eke out a narrow victory over Jon Corzine on Tuesday.

Any opinions and views herein are the sole responsibility of the writer.

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