Why do New Jersey voters consistently vote for Democrats to lead this state?
If actual results mattered, this would certainly not be the case. The Democrats have led this state into millions and even billions of dollars in structural problems.
Since we have a constitutional requirement to balance the budget, this necessitated massive tax increases or borrowing gimmicks on an annual basis.
Former Gov. Jim Florio was a pay-as-you-go chief executive. He pushed through $ 2.8 billion in unpopular taxes early in his term.
His chief of staff Steve Perskie operated under the old-school rule that you do such a regressive move early in your term, and the voters will forgive and forget by Election Day.
Such was not the case. The voters had a long memory this time and Christie Whitman ran as a conservative who would fix the reckless taxation that had burdened New Jersey residents.
Whitman was a disaster. She didn't raise taxes – she did far worse. She raided solvent pension funds and engaged in other costly borrowing schemes, which significantly contributed to the financial problems that have plagued our state.
I warned listeners and readers for years that we would experience a down-turn in the economy at some point. It was a certainty. New Jersey was having problems paying for such a large bureaucracy during the best of times.
When President George W. Bush selected Whitman to be his EPA administrator, Senate President Donald DiFrancesco followed Whitman as acting governor. DiFrancesco was a much better governor than Whitman.
Along comes Jim McGreevey. Good guy. Bad governor. He had the potential to be great. The liberal governance philosophy in New Jersey continued until he resigned in disgrace.
Next up was Senate President Dick Codey, who became acting governor. I think Codey was a pretty good governor. I didn't agree with the liberal agenda, but Codey did a heck of a job pinch-hitting during a time of crisis.
Then, there was Jon Corzine. He no longer wanted to be one of 100 as a member of the United States Senate. He fancied himself as a future president and saw the position of governor as his launching pad.
Corzine is a nice man. I conducted the first radio interview he ever did in his career. I've always liked him. He was a very generous man to party and people.
But Corzine's time as governor was disastrous.
The best thing to happen to New Jersey in decades was the election of Chris Christie as governor. For the first time in several generations, the Garden State has a governor who actually has the guts, intelligence and the ability to enact much-needed reforms during a time of financial crisis.
I can't imagine our Great Recession without Christie as governor. Christie has shown a willingness to work with the Democrats in Trenton. There is still much to do, but, Christie, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver have worked effectively on education reform, the tourism district in Atlantic City and more.
This is Atlantic City's last chance to thrive as a gaming jurisdiction and profitable destination resort. Without Christie's bold leadership and commitment to Atlantic City, the future would not be bright.
I posed an on-air question to Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson last week. It stunned him a bit. My question seemed simple, but, the answer is rather elusive.
The question: Why does New Jersey elect a Republican governor from time-to-time, but, has not elected a Republican United States Senator since Clifford Case, who served from 1955 to 1979?
The always sharp and glib Levinson struggled to come up with an answer. It's almost a stumper.
My answer is that the governor serves closer to the people, and the voters feel much more affected by whom their governor is versus whom their United States senators are.
Which brings us to U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez. Barely 50 percent of the state's residents even know his name, and when we had a disastrous super derecho monster storm, South Jersey never heard a word from Menendez.
People ask me all of the time if his Republican challenger, state Sen. Joe Kyrillos from District 13, can beat Menendez? The simple answer is yes. Remember, many of the so-called experts were confident that Corzine was going to beat Christie.
It is different trying to win a United States Senate seat versus governor of New Jersey. As odd as it may seem, the media does not cover the United States Senate races the way that they should.
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