This Week in Trenton prepared by PSI

October 19, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Gubernatorial Race Update
A New York Times Poll that was released today shows Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine leading Republican Chris Christie 40-37% while independent Christopher Daggett is at 14%.  Corzine’s lead over Christie is within the poll’s margin of error.  Despite Corzine’s lead among registered voters, his favorability ratings are more upside-down than in most other independent polls.  Only 30% of voters have a favorable opinion of him, compared to 46% who view him unfavorably.  Christie is also upside down, though 41% of respondents had no opinion of him.  He is viewed favorably by 19% and unfavorably by 37%.   Eight in 10 voters have no opinion of Daggett. Among all registered voters, Corzine’s lead is more dramatic and beyond the margin of error, at 40% to Christie’s 30% and Daggett’s 13%.

A second poll, commissioned by Rasmussen has Republican Christopher Christie with a four point lead over Gov. Jon Corzine, 45%-41%, with 9% for independent Christopher Daggett.  Rasmussen says the race might be all about Daggett, who gained three points over the last week while Christie has lost two and Corzine is down three.  “The race may be even closer than those numbers suggest. When voters are asked their initial choice, 38% name Christie, 38% Corzine, and 16% prefer Daggett. But 57% of Daggett’s supporters say they could change their minds before Election Day,” Rasmussen said.  “That dwarfs the number of swayable Corzine and Christie voters.”

A third poll, the Farleigh Dickinson University Public Mind poll shows the gubernatorial race to be a statistical dead heat with Governor Jon Corzine leading Republican challenger Christopher Christie 38%-37% among likely voters with Independent Christopher Daggett at 17%. In last month’s FDU poll, Christie led Corzine 47%-42% and Daggett was not included.

The Star-Ledger, the first of the state’s major newspapers to make an endorsement in the race for Governor, endorsed Chris Daggett. The editorial stated, “The newspaper’s decision is less a rejection of Gov. Jon Corzine and Republican Chris Christie than a repudiation of the parties they represent, both of which have forfeited any claim to the trust and confidence of the people of New Jersey. They share responsibility for the state’s current plight. Only by breaking the hold of the Democratic and Republican mandarins on the governor’s office and putting a rein on their power will the state have any hope for the kind of change needed to halt its downward economic, political and ethical spiral.”

Four years ago, the Star-Ledger endorsed Republican Douglas Forrester over Governor Corzine.

Gubernatorial Debate Tonight
Democratic Governor Jon Corzine, Republican Chris Christie and Independent Chris Daggett will participate in their second televised debate tonight at 7 p.m.

Tonights 90-minute debate, atWilliam Patterson University , will be streamed live on and My, and will provide regular updates. The debate will be televised on Sunday on WWOR-TV at noon. The Philadelphia broadcast, on WTXF, will be at 2 p.m.

Assembly Leadership Update
Essex County Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver continues to look like the favorite to succeed Speaker Joseph Roberts, who will retire at the end of this term. Late last week, Oliver was endorsed by the Essex, Union, Middlesex and Bergen county delegations. Assemblyman Joseph Cryan has emerged as the leading candidate for Assembly Majority Leader and Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who dropped out of the Speaker’s race to endorse Oliver, is expected to be named the next Democratic State Chairman.

Corzine Signs “EnCap” legislation
Governor Jon Corzine signed Assembly bill 2650/Senate bill 1769 designed to enhance the protections and oversight surrounding public investments in private redevelopment projects.

The legislation is known as the EnCap bill because it was crafted following the collapse of the EnCap Mixed-Use Redevelopment Project, which utilized more than $300 million in public money from the state and Bergen County in a failed attempt to remediate abandoned municipal landfills in the Meadowlands.

The new law requires businesses receiving any combination of grants, loans, or other financial assistance in excess of $50 million from single or multiple public entities to help fund a redevelopment or environmental remediation project to file annual, independently audited financial statements with the state Treasurer and each entity from which it has secured financing.

The law stipulates that for any qualifying contract: the private business spends a minimum of $1 for every $5 received in public funds; the public entity reserves 10 percent of the total funds approved to be disbursed upon the successful completion of the project and the private business submits payment of a performance bond, the amount of which will be tied to the project costs attributable to the publicly funded improvements.

Failure to comply with the financial statement reporting deadlines will result in an increase in the amount of public money kept in escrow. Any business that knowingly fails to submit a financial statement or purposefully misrepresents the businesses finances will be required to refund the full amount of the public financial assistance.

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