by Josh Margolin/Statehouse Bureau
Wednesday June 24, 2009
WASHINGTON — President Obama today said he is confident Gov. Jon Corzine will be re-elected this fall, though he is well aware of the tough political climate in which Corzine is running for a second term.
“I think very highly of Jon Corzine. I think he’s a terrific public servant,” the president said during a White House interview with a handful of newspaper reporters from around the country. “I’m confident that he can win re-election. I don’t think it’s surprising that he may have a significant challenge.”
Listen to audio of President Obama answer a question on Gov. Corzine and his re-election campaign
For his part, Corzine traveled around the country last year to campaign for Obama — after first supporting Obama’s Democratic presidential primary opponent, Hillary Clinton. New Jersey Democrats view Obama and his rock-star popularity as one of the key elements in their plans to turn the governor’s sagging approval ratings into an Election Day victory in November.
The other main ingredient is Corzine’s personal wealth, which the governor has tapped for previous campaigns and could conceivably bury the Republicans in an avalanche of television advertising from New York City to Philadelphia.
After serving with Obama in the U.S. Senate, Corzine ran for governor in 2005. In the fall election, Corzine is facing popular Republican Chris Christie, who made a name for himself prosecuting corrupt government officials as New Jersey’s chief federal lawman.