On June 3, 2009, Chris Christie defeated Steve Lonegan in the Republican gubernatorial primary election with 184,085 votes to Lonegan’s 140,946 votes. On this same day, Jon Corzine, who ran for re-election virtually unopposed (yes, there were other Democrats on the ballot, but none represented a credible primary challenge) received 154,448 votes.
I think that it is reasonable to argue that most, if not all, of the 150K+ voters who went to the polls on this day to vote for Jon Corzine wanted him to win re-election in November as well. If I am right about this, then I think that it is also reasonable to argue that these voters would have improved the chances of achieving their desired outcome if they had cast their votes for Steve Lonegan and not Jon Corzine.
Regardless of how unpopular Corzine might have been at the time, Christie won in 2009, because he did well with independent voters. I defy anyone to argue that a far-right-wing gadfly like Lonegan would have performed nearly as well with these voters. While it is conceivable that many more independents would have voted for the independent candidate, Chris Daggett in November if Lonegan would have been the GOP nominee, I do not believe that he would have received enough votes to win or tip the election to Lonegan.
So if you accept my premise that 45,000 Democratic votes for Lonegan instead of Corzine in June 2009 would have done more to help Corzine win in November 2009, please continue to below the fold so that we can talk more about what this premise could and should mean for progressive activism in the future.