Gov. Jon Corzine's consideration of a Republican running mate, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce President Joan Verplanck, is an idea that has worked for two other Democratic Governors in recent years. In Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius picked Republicans to run with her in 2002 (John Moore, a former Kansas Chamber of Commerce Chairman and Cessna executive) and 2006 (Mark Parkinson, a former legislator and GOP State Chairman who became Governor when Sebelius resigned in April.) Brian Schweitzer, the Democratic Governor of Montana, picked Republican State Sen. John Bohlinger as his running mate in 2004; they were re-elected last year.
The presence of a moderate Republican woman on the ticket could help Corzine draw votes away from Christopher Christie or Steven Lonegan, who have each staked fairly conservative positions during their bids for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in a state where Democrats haven't lost a statewide race in twelve years. The selection of Verplanck, who backed John McCain, Richard Zimmer, and Leonard Lance in 2008 (and wrote a check to the Republican National Committee), will likely annoy some Democrats – but probably not enough to drive them to Christie or Lonegan.