With the special Senate election past and the general election coming up in less than three weeks, politics are on the mind of many in the Garden State. Christie for Governor Chairman Bill Palatucci spoke with NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider about the elections and the political climate in New Jersey.
Raising campaign funds is important in a successful election bid and Palatucci said candidates have turned to super PACs and independent committees to get the necessary money.
“I want to always believe that there just should be instantaneous transparency, let people contribute and let the voters know about it,” said Palatucci. “And if you don’t like that a candidate is receiving money from a certain person or certain organization, then don’t vote for that candidate.”
Palatucci also said that if candidates keep receiving money from committees and super PACs, they’re not allowing the political parties and candidates to have ordinary people involved with their campaigns. According to Palatucci, it would hurt candidates and their political parties to not utilize grassroots efforts. Committee involvement can change the message candidates try to get out, he said.
“The first thing to go is the bumper stickers and the lawn signs,” said Palatucci. “The first thing to go is like the phone banks and the opportunity for grassroots folks to get involved. It forces campaigns to marshal their dollars for TV. I think that, I heard that’s part of the argument frankly at the Supreme Court right now. The folks arguing for letting candidates and committees, national committees, state parties to raise additional dollars so they can bring the campaigns back to the grassroots. I think that would be so important. I think that people really don’t realize how much that has hurt candidates’ ability to bring the grassroots into the campaign.”
During the last gubernatorial debate between Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Barbara Buono, Palatucci said Buono got a couple of shots at Christie, but overall Christie took the win. Palatucci said that Christie won both debates and that Buono was scripted and didn’t have a moment that stood out. Christie managed to rattle her by referencing the Jon Corzine era, he said.
“The governor got under her skin when he kept saying, ‘We’re still trying to recover New Jersey from the Jon Corzine/Barbara Buono days,'” said Palatucci. “And every time he mentioned Jon Corzine she got very upset and kept saying, ‘I’m not Jon Corzine.'”
Palatucci believes Christie did a great job when talking about where he wants to take the state if he were to get reelected.
Palatucci said Democrat Cory Booker’s double digit victory in the special Senate election over Republican Steve Lonegan was a healthy win.
In Lonegan’s speech following the defeat, he thanked the governor for his endorsement. Even though Christie and Lonegan don’t agree on many issues, Palatucci said Lonegan was very appreciative of Christie.
Palatucci said today’s hearing on Christie’s Supreme Court nominee Faustino Fernandez-Vina is a step in the right direction toward filling the seats. He characterized the appointment as great for the governor and said the Democrats have been an obstruction for the governor when it comes to his appointments.