Level of voter turnout in N.J. key in Republican Gubernatorial race

    By: Phil Gregory

    The race for Governor of New Jersey is attracting the most attention in Tuesday’s primary election. Recent polls show former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie with a substantial lead among likely Republican voters over former Bogota Mayor Steven Lonegan with Assemblyman Richard Merkt a distant third.

    By: Phil Gregory

    The race for Governor of New Jersey is attracting the most attention in Tuesday’s primary election. Recent polls show former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie with a substantial lead among likely Republican voters over former Bogota Mayor Steven Lonegan with Assemblyman Richard Merkt a distant third.
    Caption: former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie.

    Voter turnout may be the deciding factor in determining which Republican candidate faces Governor Jon Corzine in November.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090601pgprimary.mp3]

    Political analysts say a high voter turnout would benefit Christie, who has a support of the main Republican organizations in each of the state’s counties.

    Ben Dworkin, director of the Institute for New Jersey politics at Rider University, says a lower turnout at the polls favors Lonegan.

    Dworkin: Steve Lonegan supporters are very strong conservatives.They’re going to vote no matter what. They’re not a majority of all the Republicans in this state. So when you have a smaller turnout their voice is magnified because they will definitely be part of that smaller turnout.

    Only 12 percent of New Jersey voters cast ballots in the 2005 gubernatorial primary. Going back to 1925, participation has never topped 39 percent.

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