Gov. Chris Christie will step to the podium in the Assembly chambers this afternoon to give his fourth State of the State address, and if yesterday’s previews from both sides are any indication — well, let the election season begin.
NJ Spotlight will provide a livestream of NJTV’s broadcast of the event. And be sure to follow us on Twitter at @njspotlight for live tweets and reaction. Check back afterward for a roundup of comments and analyses from across the Internet and beyond.
NJ Spotlight’s own full analysis will follow on Wednesday.
Yesterday’s commentary leading up to the speech certainly didn’t portend a collegial state of politics, with the various sides already staking their spots for an election year when the governor’s job and all the legislative seats are up.
The back and forth started with news reports that Christie would focus his annual address on Hurricane Sandy and the state’s ongoing recovery, a strong suit for the Republican governor seeking reelection who’s popularity skyrocketed in the aftermath of the storm.
In a barrage of press releases and announcements, Democratic lawmakers countered that the governor was ignoring the state’s own financial plight and that of its residents, as well as a host of contentious topics — especially healthcare.
Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester), one of those considering a run against Christie, went so far as to say at a press conference of Senate Democrats that Christie “got lucky that a storm came” to help cover up the failings of his own economic package.
It was a comment he quickly sought to retract, but not before Republicans pounced in close to a dozen press statements of their own.
“It was shocking to hear Senator Sweeney reduce Hurricane Sandy and its devastation to a heartless partisan attack,” said Michael Drewniak, Christie’s spokesman.
“This is politics at its worst and Senator Sweeney’s next press release should be to all residents of New Jersey saying he is ashamed of what he said today,” he said.
Needless to say, Sweeney didn’t oblige.
After the governor’s office put out a press release titled “Lucky” that listed all the damage done by the hurricane, the Senate Democrats put their own out entitled “Reality” with some of the state’s flagging economic statistics.