Roll Call: NJ Dems “Dysfunctional”

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Senate DonkeysRoll Call, a leading national political publication, has compiled a list of America’s “7 most dysfunctional state parties:

Guess which state organization came in as #5? None other than the Buono-era N.J. Democrat Party:

This party’s problems can be boiled down to two words: Chris Christie.

New Jersey’s governor is one of the most powerful executives in the country. The Garden State is otherwise a Democratic stronghold, but not having the top office hurts the party immensely.

Local Democrats are frustrated they could only find a second-tier candidate to challenge Christie later this year. But the party’s troubles stem from another Christie contest.

In 2009, Christie defeated then-Gov. Jon Corzine, a Democrat who propped up the state party infrastructure with his personal fortune. After Corzine left office, local organizations found themselves financially “flatfooted,” described one state source.

The good news for Democrats? The Christie era must end: He will either run for president or reach his term limit in 2017. After him, the local GOP bench remains weak, and Democrats hope the natural order of blue state politics will return.

Yup, that’s most of the story. Save Jersey readers are aware of a few more wrinkles that help explain why Democrats can’t compete for governor this year despite having run up sizable margins in federal contests and a majority of legislative districts. U.S. Attorney Christie employed his considerable personal talents and force of personality to exploit fissures that already existed. 

Still, you can’t discount the extent to which Governor Chris Christie has changed the rules of the game for as long as he’s around; I fully expect our New Jersey Republican Party to join Roll Call’s first post-Christie list unless the party gets smarter.

Click here to check out which other state parties made the list.

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