With a possible pending Philadelphia Phillies-New York Yankees “New Jersey Turnpike World Series”, baseball analogies regarding the gubernatorial race abound in the Garden State. In baseball lingo, within the past 24 hours, the Christie campaign has had two hits, two errors, and a late inning lucky break.
The first hit was the commercial of former Governor Tom Kean endorsing Chris Christie. It was a very well done and focussed commercial that may be highly effective in recapturing former Christie voters who have defected to Chris Daggett. The commercial may also attract undecided voters to the Christie campaign. Indeed, this was a well-placed hit worthy of a Derek Jeter.
The second hit was the news that former Governor Kean will be travelling and campaigning with Christie during the last week of the campaign. Maybe this will be the come from behind home run the Christie campaign needs, like the famous Bobby Thomson home run that gave the New York Giants the National League pennant against my dearly departed and beloved Brooklyn Dodgers on October 3, 1951 at the late, lamented Polo Grounds.
The first error was the ludicrous web advertisement of the Christie campaign attempting to associate the Republican candidate with the change message of President Barack Obama. Its immediate effect was the further alienation of conservative Lonegan primary election voters. Christie has incurred a substantial defection of Lonegan supporters in recent weeks; in fact, there has been a spontaneous email effort among movement conservatives to write in the name of Steve Lonegan for Governor.
Lonegan has had nothing to do with this effort; in fact he has made absolutely no negative public statements about Christie since the primary. Nevertheless, his supporters, who view Barack Obama as anathema, perceive the Christie attempt to associate himself with the President as a slap in their faces. It is very possible that they will not vote in the gubernatorial race.
The second error was the Christie campaign effort to make an issue out of Jon Corzine’s contributions to Cooper Hospital in Camden. The hospital saved Corzine’s life after his automobile accident.
People in South Jersey love Cooper Hospital. In the interest of full disclosure, my son, Neil was born at Cooper Hospital on February 2, 1980. The Christie campaign’s publicity of Corzine’s $250,000 donation to Cooper will only help the Governor increase his vote total in South Jersey.
Indeed, in baseball terms, the Christie campaign top strategists and management every day more and more resemble Dick Stuart, the worst fielding first baseman in the history of baseball. Stuart, known as “Dr. Strangeglove” was renowned for his egregious mental and physical errors at first base for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox.
Yet today, the Christie campaign may be benefitting from a lucky break: the criminal conviction of Former Bergen County Democratic Chair Joe Ferriero. The timing of this conviction in the late innings of the deciding game of the Gubernatorial World Series could not be better for Chris Christie.
Christie’s main asset in this campaign is his outstanding record as U.S. Attorney for New Jersey. The Ferriero investigation began under Christie’s watch and the conviction serves to highlight his stellar accomplishments. Most importantly, it revives the corruption issue in Bergen County and gives credibility and relevance to Christie’s criticisms of Corzine for giving $400,000 to the Bergen County Democrats while Ferriero was chair.
In baseball terms, the Christie campaign has fallen behind in the late innings of the final seventh game of the Gubernatorial World Series. To come from behind, the Christie campaign will have to get some key hits and have some lucky breaks.
Most importantly, they will have to play error free baseball in a political sense. The Christie campaign top strategists and management have set the Gubernatorial World Series record for errors and foolish blunders. They will now have to play like former New York Met Gold Glove first baseman Keith Hernandez rather than Dick Stuart.
Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush. Region 2 EPA consists of the states of New York and New Jersey, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and seven federally recognized Indian nations.