Despite some setbacks this week, political analysts don’t count Gov. Chris Christie out when it comes to getting some priorities enacted in the final year of his term.
Christie failed to persuade lawmakers to pass a bill allowing towns to put legal notices on their websites instead of paying to publish them in newspapers. And a measure that would have allowed him to profit from a book deal while he is still in office was declared dead.
Christie’s lame-duck status and his low 18 percent voter approval rating erode his political leverage, said Peter Woolley, Fairleigh Dickinson political science professor.
“I think he can still accomplish things because he has enormous bargaining power given his powers of appointment, given his veto power,” Woolley said. “It’s just a matter of what he chooses to advance on the agenda.”
Rider University political scientist Ben Dworkin said Christie still has the ability to be effective, but it could be harder than in the past to advance his agenda.
“Democrats control the legislature. If they want a better deal, they’re going to try to hold out for a year and get a Democrat in the front office in order to be able to do what they want to do,” he said.
Meanwhile, Senate President Steve Sweeney said the governor might be able to get some things through the legislature.
“It’s just a matter of what he wants to address going forward,” said Sweeney, D-Gloucester. “People say well he’s a weakened governor, he’s this, he’s that. He’s still the governor with the strongest powers of any governor in the United States of America. So you can decide you want to accomplish some things where you’re just going to fight for a year.”
Sweeney said he’ll work with Christie, who leaves office in January 2018, on issues he believes will move the state forward.