Star-Ledger endorses the Independent in NJ-Gov race

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Meanwhile, across the river, New Jersey's largest newspaper endorsed independent candidate Chris Daggett for Governor today over incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine and Republican opponent Chris Christie. The Star-Ledger editorial says that their decision is less about the major party candidates, and more a repudiation of their state's "corrupt" Democratic and "incompetent" Republican parties, whose "mandarins" have "forfeited any claim to the trust and confidence of the people of New Jersey."

While they're at it, though, they take a few whacks at the major party candidates. Christie, the "most disappointing" candidate, takes a hit for his "sketchy" budget plans and the ignorance of state government he showed at an interview with the editorial board. Corzine's greatest shortcoming, they say, is an inability to lead an unruly state government that makes him "the chaplain on a pirate ship, not really its captain."

Dagget, a Republican and former Reagan administration official who wants to fill the budget hole with new sales taxes, is thought to be siphoning his support, currently at around 12%, from Christie, whose lead has eroded from ten points a month ago to little or nothing now. With the attention he gets from a major endorsement, Dagget has the potential to further damage the candidate he's closest to on the issues, which means the winner here is probably Corzine.

Meanwhile, the major party candidates - and, increasingly, the whole damn country - are arguing about whether Corzine's latest ad called Christie fat or just a bad driver (pretty much everyone outside the Corzine campaign is going with fat). My favorite take: self-appointed spokesman for the one-man Committee of Journalistic Ethics Enforcers David Broder says it's just downright rude to call a politician fat like Al Gore and Bill Clinton are and their Republican opponents weren't.

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