N.J. Gov. Christie counts on Democratic coalition

    The New Jersey Assembly will decide Thursday whether to give final legislative approval to a bill requiring public employees to contribute more for their pension and health care benefits.

    The legislation would be another victory for Gov. Chris Christie.

    Monmouth University political analyst Patrick Murray says the key to Christie’s success has been forming a coalition of Democrats to support his efforts to reduce government costs.

    “Those folks have always been on board with reform. They were on board with reform before Gov. Christie and now with Gov. Christie they’re able to push that forward,” said Murray. “So they’re supporting him on these specific efforts, and he came in at a time when the public said we really need some change.”

    Even though Democrats have a majority in both houses of the Legislature, they’ve been unsuccessful in advancing an alternative agenda.

    Montclair State political science professor Brigid Harrison says the governor is likely to continue to get his way unless there’s a change in the Democratic leadership after the November election.

    “Many Democrats would argue that they need new Democratic leadership that would essentially whip Democratic legislators into line and not give Gov. Christie what he wants to do,” said Harrison. “Of course, the problem with that is that many constituents are supportive of these reforms.”

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