Tag Archive: Chris Daggett

Blue Jersey Focus – Ken Wolski

Can a third party candidate win a state-wide office? A safer bet would be Congressman Jon Runyan winning the Nobel Prize in Physics. But third party candidates arguably can influence elections. If Chris Daggett had not run for governor (with the endorsement of the Sierra Club), perhaps Chris Christie would be a former US Prosecutor now working at a high-powered Wall Street firm.

Other democracies such as Australia and Israel are not saddled by a two party system, which in New Jersey is more of a 1½ party system. Thanks to the party bosses, the progressive wing of the Democratic Party has been mostly marginalized, and in the end the Koch Brothers’ agenda is being played out by our governor and a loyal opposition.

Today, I interviewed the Green Party candidate, Ken Wolski (below). More discussion, including some questions for readers, below the fold.

Blue Jersey Focus – Jeff Tittel – Part 2

Yesterday, we presented Part 1 of a two-part interview with Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel. He talked about some of the issues and challenges being debated in Trenton, including hydraulic fracturing, the Governor’s abandonment of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, renewable energy such as solar and wind, and the impact of the Oyster Creek nuclear plant and other factors in the Barnegat Bay.

Today, Tittel talks about messaging, jobs, the Governor’s absconding of environmental funds to balance the budget, state park privatization, a report card on the legislature, and his retrospective on the Sierra Club’s endorsement of a third party candidate in the last gubernatorial election.


Bring Back the Daggett Plan

If the amnesiacs driving the current policy debate will remember, during the campaign, candidate Chris Daggett proposed a tax plan reform package.

At the time, I naively had hoped that Daggett’s analytical policy based approach to politics would change the Trenton conversation and force media to engage the substance.

And for a fleeting moment in late September it did.

Daggett’s plan ran in detail on page one Star Ledger, and the media actually engaged the substance of an issue.

But man was I wrong in terms of Daggett’s ability to alter the conversation and inject more substance into media and the political debate.

It was amazing how quickly Daggett’s plan fell into obscurity.

After just weeks, things reverted to the same old politics.

This only opened the door to the Christie “shock doctrine” (N. Klein) and retrograde ideological attack on all things public (while diverting attention away from the finance industry Wall Street types that caused the economic collapse at the heart of the state budget crisis).

Amazingly, while the rest of the country is in populist outrage over the greed of Wall Street and the obscenity of the taxpayer bailout while homeowners are foreclosed on and Main Street is ignored, the cowardly corporate NJ democrats and media have allowed Christie to stand reality on its head: attack teachers, librarians, and social workers as the greedy ones!

In addition to Wall Street anger, the whole world can see how failure to regulate BP led directly to the gulf oil disaster – and a mine explosion that killed 25 workers. (Tuesday nite, PBS Frontlinewill run a story about how cost cutting and lax safety regulation results in plane crashes).

But, despite this hugely visible reality of what happens when safety and environmental regulations are gutted for corporate profits, Chrisitie is allowed to target environmental regulations (aka “red tape”) as the cause of the recession.  

In the Orwellian Chrisitie world, it’s not Wall Street,  corporations, and deregulation that are to blame, it’s greedy teachers, ibrarians, unions, and environmental regulations!

So, let’s bring back the Daggett analytical approach to policy and re-examine key aspects of the Daggett plan.

This would include a focuse on broadening the sales tax to the currently untaxed service sector to better fit the shift in the economy. This would levy the burden on those in the financial sector that are most able to afford to pay.

Of course the Daggett plan would have to be modified to include restoring the $400,000 income threshold (no need to raise it to a million, which was a ploy to support a slogan “millionaire’s tax”) and get rid of his call for corporate and wealthy tax relief:

The candidate’s plan, which he devised over several months using independent studies and state budget numbers, also would reduce corporate taxes by $750 million and income taxes on the state’s wealthiest residents by $620 million. To compensate, Daggett proposed eliminating $1.6 billion in property tax relief programs like rebates.

Independent N.J. governor candidate Chris Daggett proposes overhaul of tax system


Lowest turnout on record, but most voters since 1997

The Divison of Elections certified the official voter turnout numbers the other day and we set a record:

Turnout was 46.9% – the lowest on record for a gubernatorial election, down from 48.5% in 2005 and 49.3% in 2001, the only other times less than half of registered voters turned out at the polls.

Looked at another way, though, the turnout of 2,451,704 voters was the most for a governor’s race since 1997 and marked a 105,000 voter increase over the election four years ago.

The percentage turnout is affected by the presidential election registration surge typically seen every four years, which was particularly large in 2008. There were 390,000 more registered voters in 2009 than four years – and it’s likely that a goodly number were interested in the race for the White House but less jazzed about the run for Drumthwacket.

Here’s a link to the official results. The Christie/Guadagno ticket received 1,174,445 votes compared to 1,087,731 votes for Corzine/Weinberg.

FDU poll shows Corzine with a 43-41 lead

Just when you thought you were done with the polls, FDU is out with a poll that shows the Governor holding a slim two point lead over Chris Christie:

Polling over the past 11 days by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind™ shows that Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine and Republican challenger Chris Christie continued down to the wire in a close contest in the race for New Jersey governor.  Reporting 1119 interviews of likely voters from Oct. 22 through Nov. 1 shows Corzine maintaining 43% support including leaners, against 41%, including leaners, for Christie, with 8% for independent Chris Daggett, 2% preferring other candidates, and 5% undecided, with a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.

This part of the poll memo confused me as they separated white women from the rest of women:

Democrats often have a significant advantage among women, offsetting a Republican advantage among men, but this year white women split evenly between Corzine and Christie (42-42) while white men prefer Christie by a large margin (55-29).

Does that mean that women and men who weren’t white didn’t help them make their point? They say that a majority of voters think that no matter what the numbers say now, Jon Corzine will be the Governor once again:

Nonetheless, more than half of voters (56%) say they think Corzine will win the election, against 28% who think that Christie will win.  One percent say Daggett will win, and 15% say they don’t know who will pull this one out.

Polls only matter if the people who participate actually go and vote. That’s all we have left now is the ground game.

3 point shift gives Corzine 43-41 lead in final Monmouth University/Gannett poll

The final Monmouth University/Gannett poll has been released and it shows a shift in voters toward the Governor:

In polling conducted over the final weekend of this campaign, the Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll finds the race is still in a statistical no man’s land, but that incumbent Jon Corzine now appears to have a razor thin 43% to 41% lead over challenger Chris Christie.  Independent Chris Daggett holds at 8%.  This marks a slight, albeit statistically insignificant, shift from the 43% to 42% nominal lead Christie held in polling conducted from Wednesday through Friday.

“This race is still as close as it can be.  It’s possible that President Obama’s visit boosted the governor’s chances.  But it is also likely that some anti-Corzine voters are still unsure of casting their lot with Christie.  If the undecided vote breaks largely for the Republican, this race could be a squeaker,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

There has been a significant push to get people voting early:

The poll also finds that about 6% of New Jersey voters have already cast their ballot by mail, similar to the percentage of mail ballots received in last year’s presidential race.  For these ballots, Jon Corzine looks to have the decided advantage.  A majority of 53% of mail voters say they voted for the incumbent, compared to just 31% for Christie, 11% for Daggett and 5% for other candidates.

Here’s what the poll said about people’s feelings for the candidates:

The poll found that Jon Corzine’s job performance rating stands at 36% approve to 54% disapprove, which is basically unchanged from prior polls.  However, his personal rating has improved, now registering at 40% favorable to 44% unfavorable.   While still in net negative territory, this is better than the 39% to 49% personal rating the governor had last week.

Chris Christie’s personal rating is a net positive 40% favorable to 38% unfavorable.  This is down slightly from last week’s 44% to 36% rating.  It is also down significantly from the 50% favorable to 26% unfavorable rating he held back in July.

Chris Daggett’s personal rating remains steady at 21% favorable to 21% unfavorable, with the majority (58%) of likely voters saying they never really formed an opinion of the independent candidate.

The polls are all over the place.  It’s all going to come down to who we get out to vote. Voters can find their polling place here. The site allows you to get an email/phone reminder when you want to vote and then gives you 5 neighbors who vote at the same polling place that you can call and remind to vote. You can even make calls from home on behalf of the Governor if you can’t make it to a location to volunteer. If you want to volunteer but aren’t sure where to help, you can call 877-NJ-GOV-09 and they will route you to the nearest office to get involved.

What to watch for on Tuesday (a county analysis)

 by Stephen Yellin

Note: For this article, I am relying on David Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Elections. His website can be found at US Election Atlas

In just two days, voters will go to the polls in New Jersey to elect its Governor. Jon Corzine is locked in a dead heat with Republican Chris Christie, and it’s clear that the winner will be the one that more successfully turns out their base of support. In a race that will probably be decided by a few percentage points either way, I feel it is worth examining where both sides will be expecting their votes to come from. Recent statewide elections in New Jersey have seen the Democrats win by comfortable margins, which will not be the case this year. What example, then, can we draw on to determine (as best we can) how New Jersey’s 21 counties will vote in a close statewide election?  

Is Christie cracking under the pressure of a sinking campaign?

A couple of weeks back, I asked if Christie was choking down the homestretch as the double digit leads were evaporating as summer turned to fall and attention started being paid to this race.  And while there was plenty of blame to go around – the numerous “drip drip drip” Christie scandals, the continued lack of a plan for anything, the belligerent tone in ads or on television appearances, the hammering he was getting from Daggett, Corzine, Democrats, conservatives and people who were starting to take notice, not to mention his blaming others for running what has been called “the worst campaign ever” – things never really got on track.

But now, it seems like Christie has gone into full “freak out” mode as some polls are starting to show Corzine opening up a lead or being within the margin of error.

He has re-opened the “wrong way Christie” story by saying that he wasn’t going the wrong way down a one way street – essentially calling the officer a liar.  After talking about how this race was not about “outsiders”, he has had republican “superstars” (read: has beens and never will bes) Bobby Jindal, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani ad Tim Pawlenty campaign for him.  There will be a teabagger rally (with him possibly there) since he will be less than a mile away with Joe “You Lie” Wilson.

He hasn’t talked much at all about the “tax issue” that has fallen into his campaign’s lap but chooses to spend the final week talking about how fat he is (his words, not mine).

And yesterday, he told a caller on 101.5 that he wasn’t dead set against project labor agreements when he was asked directly, even though his website and prior comments have gone so far as to call them an “inexcusable amount of waste”.

At the end of a campaign, a confident candidate or a candidate running a solid campaign would be hammering home the theme and message in a powerful closing argument.  The problem with Christie all along is that he had no real message, he had no self control, ownership in his campaign or discipline and he had no real campaign theme.

Those are the last traits that you want to have or have portrayed in the days before a huge election.  And for someone who has been accused of running a putrid campaign – it is amazing that he is ending it on an even worse note than he has been running it for the past few months.

Daggett says the GOP tried to force him out of the race

Chris Daggett said yesterday that he was pressured by national Republicans not to run his Independent campaign for Governor:

In an interview on Sirius-XM Radio early Wednesday, Daggett said businessman Christy Mihos had called him to urge him to quit the race, saying he may be blamed for giving Corzine four more years. Mihos ran for Massachusetts governor as an independent in 2006, and he is now running as a Republican for that post.

“He felt that he did a lousy job when he ran [as] an independent, and now people are blaming him for it, and trying to act as though, or worry that I might be blamed in New Jersey for a Republican losing,” Daggett said.

But Daggett wasn’t having any of that talk and pushed back as he has consistently against arguments that he was going to cost the GOP the race:

“If the Republicans lose in New Jersey, they’ve got to look in the mirror,” Daggett said. “The Republicans are the party of no. They don’t participate meaningfully in the debate about how to fix things.”

Daggett, asked if Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele had contacted him, said no. But, he said, Republicans “have sent other missionaries.”

A spokesman for the Republican Governors Association said the organization did not urge Mihos to contact Daggett.

This isn’t the first time in this campaign we’ve seen a candidate receive pressure from the right side to drop their campaigns.  In the primary, Rick Merckt said that John Inglesino, a fundraiser for and friend of Chris Christie offered him a “major position” if he dropped his run for office. Christie of course said Inglesino was just a volunteer and that he had no knowledge of the offer. I guess they just figure they can’t lose to people they don’t actually end up running against.