Yes, New Jersey is a blue state.
And yes, there is no question about the fact that voters here seem to lean to the left.
And it's also true that Jon Corzine is one of the most liberal governors (maybe the most liberal governor) in America.
So, you'd think that Joisey Democrats would be solid for Jon, right?
Well, think again.
The Democrats that I talk to are running scared.
Died-in-the-wool Democrat friends don't even wanna talk about November's gubernatorial election. And when they do talk, it's not good.
Having been a Democrat myself, I know lots of Democrats and count them as longtime friends.
"I expected him to bring about some reform, to stand up to the entrenched interests. He seemed like he was independent," one lifelong Democrat told me. "But he just sort of folded. It's not a pretty picture."
Another confessed that she's been unhappy with Corzine almost from the start. "It's like he came into office with all these expectation and then had no idea what to do." she explains. "It's sad but now we have real problems and I'm afraid he's just not up to the task."
Recently, a Democrat even approached me about hosting an event for Christopher Christie. "I ordinarily wouldn't back a Republican," this person said. "But I like what Christie stands for and I like what he's saying. And I'm just real tired of Corzine."
Not long ago I overheard another Democrat officeholder confess to a friend that he wasn't looking forward to running under Corzine in November. "We're in major trouble," he said.
Most of these people don't want their names mentioned because they have too much to lose and/or they live in counties where Democrat bosses maintain autocratic rule. But they all say the same thing: Corzine looks tired, overwhelmed, defeated.
Some people tell me they feel the governor has simply not been the same since his unfortunate auto accident. Others say the bottom fell out when his turnpike toll hike plan was soundly rejected. "He's lost something along the way. He doesn't really seem to want to be in the job anymore," someone commented. "He seems distracted."
A well-connected Democrat told me that the state Democrat hierarchy really didn't want the Governor to run again. "They feel he's a liability," this person said. "But he controls the purse strings, so what can you do?"
A Republican officeholder said he hasn't seen anything like this in New Jersey for a long time. "It's unprecedented," he said. "I've actually had Democrat leaders come up to me and quietly assure me that the Republicans have the better candidate. They as much as tell me that they're voting for Christie and urging family members and close friends to do the same. I hardly know what to say."
Now, I'm sure that the Republicans are not taking any of this to the bank.
And, like I said - New Jersey is a blue, blue, liberal state.
But Democrats have become accustomed to winners now. And, with Obama in the spotlight, Corzine doesn't seem so shiny and new.
In fact, Corzine doesn't seem to look, act or feel like a winner.
When you begin to feel fortune fading, you can either roll the dice one more time or begin to hedge your bets.
As far as I can tell, some major Democrat bet hedging is already underway.