Look For More Squabbling Between Governor Christie And Democratic Leaders [AUDIO]
During his first two years as Governor of the Garden state, Chris Christie has been able to work with democratic leaders in the Assembly and state Senate, and get a lot done…but don't expect the trend to continue.
Patrick Murray, the Director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, says "it's really difficult to tell right now what's going to happen, because when you reach the mid-point of a Governor's term the calculations start to change…but instead of trying to get things done, the democrats may be looking at opportunities to take the Governor down as he heads into his reelection bid in 2013."
He says "it's going to be an interesting calculation by the democrats - because the leadership-particularly Steve Sweeney, the Senate President, does agree with the Governor on a number of things that the Governor is pushing forward, but he might be one of the people who could potentially be facing off against him."
He points out the pension reforms agreed to by the Governor and the Legislature were pushed by Sweeney all along, and "the education reforms that the Governor is trying to push right now are important to a number of democratic power brokers, but there's a lot more dissention, particularly among the democratic leadership on those issues…the Governor has not said very kind things about the Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, he ticked off Steve Sweeney, by some of the vetoes he made in the budget without informing him ahead of time - and that can make it hard to work together."
Murray adds right now "a lot of things are up in the air, and you don't see the same kind of opportunity for progress that we saw in the first two years…Chris Christie is making good use of his bully pulpit as Governor to try and push through his agenda…and he's getting a lot of attention and being able to sway at least enough of the public on his side to make enough noise to put some pressure on the democrats."
He also says the Governor has 4 key education bills he wants passed in lame duck, and "I don't see the majority of them passing right now unless there's some flurry of activity at the very end…and that's an indication that the democrats want to drag their feet a little, want to make the Governor sweat- even if they're going to give him some of these reforms in the end - they don't want to make it too easy for him…even if he is able to achieve some of the things he wants to achieve, they're going to try to make sure that it doesn't look like the clear cut victory that he's had in his first two years."