Posted with permission from The Dan Cirucci Blog
People keep asking us about the upcoming New Jersey statewide election.
And we’re not quite sure how to respond.
It’s almost like we want to say: There’s an election coming up in New Jersey, really?
Because the last time New Jersey had a gubernatorial election with a real, live, viable challenger (2009) things weren’t this quiet. No. In fact, things got very noisy, very early.
But then again, that year marked the emergence of Chris Christie who turned out to be a force like no other in New Jersey politics.
Sure, New Jersey’s kinda weird in that it is one of only two states (Virginia being the other) to hold its statewide elections in odd years when there are no elections for Congress and/or the presidency.
This is called an “off” year.
And things certainly do seem to be “off” in the current campaign, such as it is.
OK, so Mr. Moneybags, Mr. Goldman Sachs, Mr. Hi’ya Everybody (aka Phil Murphy) is by all accounts, the heavy favorite to win the governor’s office in a very blue (and often hopelessly liberal) state.
But people said that Hillary Clinton was not only the overwhelming favorite but the presumptive winner last year. And look what happened to her. And Donald Trump upset Hillary while spending a lot less money than she did — a lot less.
Trump did it by gaining a lot of attention, making a lot of noise and hurling plenty of attacks at his opponent. He gained lots of lots of free media coverage that way.
Christie, by the way, did much the same thing in 2009. Christie knew he was the underdog against a Democrat incumbent in a blue state and he stirred up a virtual firestorm. His message was simple: New Jersey is broken and I will fix it. I will turn Trenton upside down and I will change things. Very simple. very repetitive. very straightforward.
But that wasn’t all. Christie had his wits about him and always, he kept it real. He seemed to be just who he was, period. He seemed authentic.
So, say what you will, Christie beat all the odds and showed how a Republican actually can win decisively in a deep blue state.
Which brings us to this year’s Republican challenger, Kim Guadagno. We like her. We plan to vote for her. She certainly seems nice enough and well intended. She’s definitely experienced in government. She seems to care about the state and its people. She seems ready to serve.
But, we’re not seeing very much brio from Kim Guadagno — not very much moxie, not very much derring-do.
Kim Gudagno, are you reading this? Huh?
We hope so. Because, if you are, we have some advice for you. Don’t hold back, Kim. You have nothing to lose right now by throwing caution to the wind, being guided by your instincts, speaking from the heart and shaking things up.
The age of genteel Republicanism (aka country club Republicanism) is over. It cannot and will not win.
Remember what happened to Millicent Fenwick? She was a nice lady. Everybody liked her. That’s what they said. She got crushed by an opponent who came out of nowhere and broke all the rules. That guy went on to become a political powerhouse in this state.
Look at what happened to Hillary. She got clobbered in the debates and on the campaign trail by guy who appeared to be a ham-handed joker and terminal narcissist. He was crazy — yeah, maybe crazy like a fox.
Women often fall into this trap. They hold back. Then they get blindsided. Kaboom!
Christie Whitman was on that path in her first statewide race. She followed the Fenwick script — noblesse oblige, all pearls and proper etiquette. It was going nowhere. Then, Ed Rollins showed up, put Whitman in jeans and a gingham top, sent her out on a bus and got her plain-talking. It worked! She squeaked into office.
We understand, Kim. It wasn’t easy standing beside the Big Guy all those years and maintaining a virtually blank look, stifling any facial expressions, body language — whatever. We were there. We saw it. That took real control, real discipline. We get it, Kim.
But the time for control, the time for rigidity is over.
Is there real passion inside you? Is there a fire there? Is it?
Well then, let us see it. Show it — now! Do it, Kim. Because this may be our last chance.
We simply cannot risk what all the phony elites tell us is inevitable.
This guy’s a poseur, Kim. You know that. He’s not New Jersey. You are! And you can smoke him out.
But you’ve got to charge forward now. You can’t wait. And you can’t let up — not for one instant.
C’mon! Let’s do this!