N.J. candidates fail to gain traction in governor’s race

Comedian Joe Piscopo is said to be considering a run for governor in New Jersey. Even though he has not declared his candidacy

Comedian Joe Piscopo is said to be considering a run for governor in New Jersey. Even though he has not declared his candidacy

The primary election in New Jersey’s governor’s race is four months away. But most registered voters are unsure who should replace Gov. Chris Christie, according to Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll director Krista Jenkins.

“Fifty percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Republicans say they don’t have a clue,” she said. “About one  in seven in both groups would prefer someone other than those who have already declared or are at least thinking about throwing their hats into the ring.”

Former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy comes in first on the Democratic side with 17 percent of voter support compared to single-digit numbers for the other contenders.

“Murphy has pumped a bundle of his own money into this race and received early endorsements from powerbrokers across the state,” Jenkins said. “His lead over the other long-term public office holders seems to be an indication that his investment was well spent, but I’m sure he certainly would like to have been a little more ahead of things at this point in the game.”

Among Republicans, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno tops the list with 18 percent. Even though he’s not a declared candidate, Jenkins said, former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Joe Piscopo is close behind with 13 percent.

“With many Republican endorsements remaining unclaimed, all contenders will need to do more to define and distinguish themselves and to capture the eye of many more Republican voters across the state,” she said.

The numbers are likely to change as the primary gets closer and campaign ads and voter interest increase.

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