Will Corzine Trip?
If Corzine is to choke, there seem to be two scenarios for how: an October surprise, or a Democratic machine that takes a dive on him on Election Day.Potential trips:
The October surprise, of course, is the great unknown in any campaign. A shocking revelation about Corzine could easily erase his lead.
One thing to keep in mind, though: whispering is feverish in the days before any election, but it rarely spills into the press, and probably for good reason.
The question of Democratic turnout is more interesting, because New Jersey is one of the few states where the machine still breathes -- and where candidates, generally Democrats, can live or die by it.
The machine hummed for McGreevey, and if it does for Corzine it'll be worth an extra few points when the ballots are counted. But if there's a jam, Corzine could find himself sweating even more than usual. The most likely problem areas for Corzine are Hudson, Essex and Bergen Counties.
If Corzine has trouble in Essex, it will be because of Sharpe James, the mayor of Newark.
It's tough to tell if James and Corzine are back on the same page. Party leaders in Essex say they are, but James did skip a Corzine event with Hillary Clinton in West Orange this week, an event that was also a major fund-raising event for the Essex County's Democratic Party. Now, Corzine's campaign has dispatched a street operative named James Benjamin to Newark, its insurance policy in case James tells his field army to stay home on Election Day.
Of course, Corzine is a very wealthy man, one who doesn't mind putting his fortune into politics. He has the means to dispatch his own operatives -- and cash -- into the streets to drive up turnout in key Democratic areas, without much help from the bosses.
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