In the past month (since our August update), both of our gubernatorial candidates have managed to put foot in mouth, to their detriments.
Democrat Barbara Buono was continuing to attack Christie over those Stronger than the Storm ads, and said, "I don't know about you, but seeing Chris Christie frolicking on the beach is not going to drive me to go to the shore." Her audience laughed, but she now denies that it was a "fat joke", even though only her most ardent supporters believe her.
Buono also claimed that a ten percent tuition increase at Rutgers was due to Christie's higher education budget cutting; the truth is that have to stretch a bit to assert that the increase is ten percent, and state law makes the Rutgers Board of Governors responsible for setting tuition and budget, something over which the governor has no direct control. He did cut spending in every area, but the tuition hikes are not entirely his fault.
It does not appear that President Obama will be visiting to help the Buono campaign, but they did get help from a Hollywood actress, Kerry Washington, who happens to be a cousin (by marriage) of Buono's running mate, Milly Silva. They are gaining support among Democrats, but more than half of all women in the state still prefer the Governor. Polls show some gain, but Christie is still ahead by between twenty and twenty-five percentage points, and still at over fifty percent of the vote. Few observers see any hope for Buono, even if Obama were to visit. (His visit did not help Corzine in the last election.)
Meanwhile, Republican Chris Christie's big gaff involves insulting a sports reporter. The reporter had gone hard on Christie's friend, New York Jets team coach Rex Ryan. Christie called the reporter an idiot, publicly, and New York's Daily News responded by calling him "Fatso" on its front page. Liberals are making much of this spat, but mostly in an effort to make Christie look less presidential.
Christie also declined to appear at a Steve Lonegan campaign rally with Senator Rand Paul, because he had already made plans to celebrate his wife's fiftieth birthday that weekend. (The Governor celebrated his own fifty-first earlier this month.) Paul has since won a presidential straw poll among conservative Republicans at a gathering in Michigan, suggesting that even if Christie is the candidate with the best chance to win, Republicans will probably nominate someone out of the mainstream. Most New Jersey voters think he wants to run, but that he has New Jersey's interests as his priority.
In other news, he signed gun control legislation requiring law enforcement agencies to inform the state about guns seized or found abandoned; he vetoed more sweeping measures banning fifty caliber rifles and overhauling the gun permit law. New Jersey's gun laws are rated second in the nation by the Brady Campaign.
Observers also say that he looks slimmer since last year's lap band surgery.
The November election is still over a month away, and although Christie is holding fairly steady, Buono has made some gains. Few believe she can win, but many think it would be a serious upset if she can lose by only ten percentage points.