The potential race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination just became a little less competitive.
For the second time this year, biotech entrepreneur John Crowley has declined a bid for statewide office in New Jersey.
According to a spokesman, Crowley has decided not seek office at this time.
Most recently, many had hoped that John Crowley would have sought the senate seat which Democrat Frank Lautenberg won a fifth term to. At the time Crowley citied his responsibilities to his biotech business in Cranbury as the reason for not running. Crowley's biotech company, was originally started by him in an attempt to develop treatment for a fatal disease that has newborn twins were born with. After a merger, the company has since become one of the world's largest biotech organizations under the name Amicus Therapeutics.
The combination of independent wealth, inspirational personal history, innovation, intelligence and political ideology made Crowley candidate for pinning Republican hopes of electoral victories in New Jersey on. John McCain even called John to request that he run against Lautenberg. As was the case with other state officials, the request was rejected.
Although he continues decline running for office, politics is still an arena that Crowley will participate in.
Earlier this year he created "Building The New Majority", a political action committee aimed at taking back control of the state legislature. Aides to Crowley claim that through Building The New Majority, Crowley will be quite busy in the coming months. In fact they say that the committee will soon be launching a campaign to address the sour business atmosphere in New Jersey and how we can turn it around.
The absence of John Crowley from the Republican primary for Governor doesn't harm our chances to win in November but it does reduce the amount of competitiveness that we will see in it..
His ability to finance a campaign that could match the deep pockets of John Corzine who purchased his last three statewide campaigns, would have helped to heat things up a bit. He would have forced a real fight the nomination. One that would have produced a nominee that truly earned it and proved their ability to raise the funds needed to compete with Corzine in November..
Right now, many establishment Republicans are simply waiting for Chris Christie to declare his candidacy. The only official candidates so far are Steve Lonegan and Assembly Richard Merkt. They have yet to prove themselves and catch fire with the establishment or any other Republican voters on a statewide level. If they fail to raise the funds necessary to compete with the anticipated recognition of Chris Christie, it looks like the primary may become more of a coronation for Christie than an election.
That would be a shame.
It hasn't happened yet and it may not. Christie could prove himself to be vulnerable on the campaign trail. Merkt and Lonegan have the chance to make significant inroads. However, a Crowley candidacy would have insured Christie's need to work hard for the nomination.
Anything could change though. For all we know Chris Christie, who has seen fit to delay an announcement of his own candidacy, may surprise us and join John Crowley in rejecting picking up the mantle for New Jersey Republicans. If that happens, there are some other very good individuals who, in the absence of Christie from the field, may jump in. People like Morris County Freeholder John Murphy or maybe even someone like State Senator Bill Baroni .
A recent POLITICS 24/7 poll taken on our sister site, "Jennifer Beck for Lieutenant Governor", showed Baroni with a surprisingly strong showing. The results of that poll were as follows:
Former US Attorney Chris Christie 42%
State Senator Jennifer Beck 17%
State Senator Bill Baroni 12%
Bio Tech Entrepreneur John Crowley 7%
Fmr. Bogota, NJ Mayor Steve Lonegan 6%
Morris County Freeholder John Murphy 4%
Former Majority Leader Paul DeGaetano 3%
Perennial Candidate Murray Sabrin 3%
Frm. Rep. Mike Fergusson 2%
Assemblyman Joe Pennachio 2%
Assemblyman Richard Merkt 0%
State Senator Joe Kyrillos 0%
In any event, Crowley's absence fro the race makes it easier for Christie to consolidate support among those Republicans who want him to win the nomination simply because he has high name identification. That is not a good thing. That type of thinking could produce an out of touch, arrogant candidacy that could cost us more than it was worth come November.
Hopefully, we, the voters, will give all of the official candidates a fair hearing. That includes any one else who runs like Mayor Brian Levine as well as Chris Christie, if he ever finally decides to run.