Kim Guadagno is a new Republican superstar. She represents the best hope that Chris Christie has of regaining the support of Independent women that he has lost over the past month.
Every morning, as I watch local New York news shows between 6:00 am and 7:00 am, I see a Corzine commercial that basically portrays Chris Christie as a misogynist – a person who hates women. The commercial is very unfair, but that is the nature of modern television political campaign advertising.
The Christie campaign could very easily counter this portrayal by having a television commercial in which Guadagno talks directly into the camera and says, “I’m Kim Guadagno, Chris Christie’s running mate for Lieutenant Governor. As a wife, mother, lawyer, and public official, I can tell you that more than almost anybody I’ve met in politics, Chris Christie understands the needs of women meeting the twin challenges of career and family.”
Christie’s best decision in this campaign was his designation of Kim Guadagno as his running mate. She has a first-rate intellect and superb communication skills. Her credibility on issues, especially regarding those with special relevance to women, is impeccable.
Yet it appears that the Christie campaign has done everything possible to prevent her from communicating with the media on her own. They refused to make her available to go on the NJN television show, On The Record, hosted by Michael Aron. Until recently, it seemed that her campaign appearances were limited to playing a nonspeaking supporting junior partner for Chris Christie as he travelled throughout the state.
The most incredible lost opportunity for Guadagno took place after her superb victory in the Lieutenant Governor debate at Monmouth University on October 8. It was a moment for Guadagno to bask in the limelight before the statewide media.
Ironically, Guadagno and Chris Christie avoided the press and went out the side door. Meanwhile, Chris Daggett and his running mate, Frank Esposito stayed and talked to the press, as did Jon Corzine and Loretta Weinberg. The Christie campaign has had numerous blunders, and this was just another one. I have a gut feeling, however, that it was not Kim Guadagno’s decision to avoid the press on that stellar night of her career.
As I have said repeatedly, Chris Christie is an ethical and moral man, and he was the greatest U.S. Attorney in modern New Jersey history. His campaign for Governor, however, has been the worst strategized Republican statewide campaign I have ever seen in the Garden State. His campaign’s best hope for victory is to utilize Kim Guadagno as the key asset in regaining the support of Independent women who no longer support Chris Christie.
I have little confidence, however, that the Christie political "brain trust" will make maximum use of Kim Guadagno’s skills between now and election day. Instead, I expect to read stories within a month after the election that the leading two Republican candidates to succeed Jon Corzine in Election 2013 are Kim Guadagno and Steve Lonegan.
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.