As Gov. Chris Christie puts the finishing touches on his State of the State address, political analysts say the speech Tuesday before a joint session of the New Jersey Legislature will command national attention.
Christie still has not announced whether he will jump into the Republican presidential primary race. And the address represents a big opportunity for the governor, said Ben Dworkin, Rider University political science professor.
“He was tripped up by the bridge scandal and it basically sucked the life out of the last year,” Dworkin said. “So this State of the State is a real chance to reset the whole image and projection for his administration.”
Fairleigh Dickinson political science professor Krista Jenkins, however, doesn’t see it as a make-or-break moment for Christie’s presidential aspirations.
“I think it’s going to be more heavily scrutinized that his past ones, particularly by the national media,” she said. “But the reality is there’s still a great amount of time to define themselves to a national electorate.”
Analysts expect Christie to be upbeat — but perhaps hold off on specifically addressing the state’s most expensive problems until next month when he presents a state budget.
Those issues — the pension system’s unfunded deficit, the wherewithal for infrastructure funding, and debt — will play against Christie if he does become a presidential candidate, said Fairleigh Dickinson political science professor Peter Woolley.