Is Daggett the Kevin Maas of New Jersey politics?

So far, independent Christopher Daggett looks like a one hit wonder. Since his win in the first gubernatorial debate and last Sunday’s endorsement by the Star-Ledger, he has now lost one debate and five other daily newspapers have endorsed someone else.

By endorsing Daggett last week, the Star-Ledger lost their spot as a sponsor of Friday night’s TV debate, and their columnist, Editorial Page Editor-elect Tom Moran, had to back out of being a panelist. The word at the state’s largest newspaper was that they would have held their endorsement had someone on the editorial staff realized that they would be in violation of a state law on official debate sponsorships. And some insiders wonder if they still would have backed Daggett had they seen his performance in the last debate.

Daggett, a former state Environmental Protection Commissioner, has polled between 9% and 14% in recent independent polls. He has also survived the intense scrutiny that the media – including PolitickerNJ.com – usually places on leading statewide candidates. The Star-Ledger endorsement came without their usual vetting, perhaps because one of their premier investigators is now investigating for the Corzine campaign.

Republican Christopher Christie and Gov. Jon Corzine are tied in the endorsement derby, 2-2. But that number might be a little misleading, since both of his endorsements have come from Gannett-owned newspapers. Corzine, who doesn’t particularly care for unfriendly forums, skipped the Gannett editorial board meeting last Corzine has been endorsed by the New York Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer – prestigious, but about as New Jersey as the Giants and Jets.

The two newspapers that endorsed Christie – the Home News Tribune and the Courier-News– endorsed Republican Douglas Forrester for Governor against Corzine in 2005. In that race, Corzine had the support of the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Star-Ledger. So Corzine is down one. (In ’05, nine dailies backed Forrester, while eight went for Corzine, who won the election by ten percentage points).

Christie has not yet secured the endorsement of a newspaper that endorsed Corzine in 2005, and Corzine has not been endorsed by any newspaper that did not back him four years ago. Of the newspapers who have endorsed so far, none have endorsed Corzine in all three of his statewide campaigns.

Corzine’s newspaper endorsement record:

New York Times: Franks 2000, Corzine 2005, Corzine 2009
Philadelphia Inquirer: Franks 2000, Corzine 2005, Corzine 2009
Courier-News: Franks 2000, Forrester 2005, Christie 2009
Courier-Post: Franks 2000, Forrester 2005
Home News Tribune: Corzine 2000, Forrester 2005, Christie 2009
Star-Ledger: Corzine 2000, Forrester 2005, Daggett 2009
The Record: Franks 2000, Forrester 2005
Asbury Park Press: Franks 2000, Forrester 2005
Trenton Times: Corzine 2000, Corzine 2005
Daily Record: Franks 2000, Forrester 2005
Press of Atlantic City: Franks 2000, Corzine 2005
Jersey Journal: Corzine 2000, Corzine 2005
Gloucester County Times: Franks 2000, Corzine2005
Express-Times: Franks 2000, Corzine 2005
New York Daily News: Corzine 2000, Corzine 2005
New York Post: Franks 2000, Forrester 2005
Trentonian: Franks 2000, Forrester 2005

Is Daggett the Kevin Maas of New Jersey politics?