2013: The Year Of The Christie-Crat [AUDIO]
We've all heard of the so-called Reagan Democrat, but now, New Jersey has the Christie-crats.
Over two dozen Democrats have officially endorsed Gov. Chris Christie's re-election bid and Election Day is still four-and-a-half months away.
A spokesman for the Christie campaign says, to date, 26 elected Democratic officials, including powerful Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo and influential State Sen. Brian Stack have endorsed the Governor. While it's rare to see top-tier members of one party endorsing a candidate of the opposing party, it has happened before in the Garden State.
"When (then-Gov.) Tom Kean was running for re-election the Democratic nominee, a guy named Pete Shapiro really had little support from his own party and people openly endorsed Tom Kean," says Fairleigh Dickinson University political science professor Peter Woolley. "So, it's not unprecedented, but you'd have to go back more than 30 years to find when this was the case."
What these Democratic endorsements say is that Christie is a very good alliance maker according to Woolley. He says a lot Democrats agree with some of his key policies like education reform, revitalizing Atlantic City and the university merger plan.
"These Democratic endorsements also say that there are people at the local level who don't really think that party politics should be what determines their endorsement," explains Woolley. "There are a lot of people at the local level who realize local issues are really not party issues and so they're willing to jump ship."
The Democratic challenger in the gubernatorial race is State Sen. Barbara Buono. Seeing some of her fellow Democrats defecting to the Christie camp sends her a message too.
"That says that you think that candidate is going to lose and that your interests are not aligned," says Woolley.