Christie: GOP lawmakers will keep Statehouse seats

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is keeping the expectations low with his prediction for next week’s elections. He said he doesn’t expect a drop in the number of Republicans seats in the New Jersey Legislature where Democrats hold the majority in both the state Senate and Assembly.

Christie’s popularity and fundraising could lead to Republican gains, according to Ben Dworkin, a Rider University political science professor.

“He’s underplaying how well they’ll do,” he said. “I think the Republicans have an excellent chance of picking up several seats.”

LaSalle University Provost Joe Marbach said he is not anticipating that the Republicans will gain any seats because the legislative redistricting map approved earlier this year favors incumbents.

“In a best-case scenario, the Republicans will maintain the status quo,” Marbach said. “Based on the way the districts have been drawn–and if they vote as they historically have–it will be very difficult for the Republicans to gain any ground.”

Political analysts say Christie is downplaying the GOP chances so just maintaining current numbers in the Legislature will look like a victory for the Republicans.

“Even if it’s a wash for the Republicans, Christie can claim a victory the next morning,” said Peter Woolley, political science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University. “If they pick up any seats, even one seat, they’ll certainly claim victory even louder.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal