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Whitman's Lead Shrinks In N.J. Governor's Race

By Jonathan Karl/CNN


ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (Oct. 31) -- As New Jersey's governor's race goes down to the wire, incumbent Gov. Christie Whitman is running hard, looking for votes on a hectic 97-stop, 10-day bus tour of the Garden State.

She needs to, as the one-time rising star Republican is in trouble in her own backyard. The latest poll suggests the race is tighter than ever, with Whitman is only one point ahead of her Democratic challenger.


Whitman's opponent is suburban mayor Jim McGreevey, still relatively unknown to New Jersey voters just days before the election.

But McGreevey has help from the highest of political places, enjoying four visits from President Bill Clinton or Vice President Al Gore in a month. The latest was Thursday morning when Gore joined McGreevey at Pennhauken High School.

While Democrats smell blood, is one of the nation's three women governors concerned about the polls?


She says no. "The one that counts is election day, and what I see, from what I see on the street. That's the poll I take, and it's been wonderful," Whitman said.

Republicans have struggled in New Jersey since Whitman was elected four years ago. Since then, no Republican has won a statewide election, and last year, President Clinton won the state in an 18-point landslide.

McGreevey has hammered Whitman over New Jersey's high property taxes and auto insurance rates.

State election records also show Democrats have registered three times as many New Jersey voters as Republicans since June. And the biggest increases have come on McGreevey's home turf.

new jersey

And she's got another problem: Libertarian Murray Sabrin, who earned a spot in the debates. Though Sabrin is trailing far behind in the polls, he is one of two pro-life candidates to siphon social conservatives from Whitman.

The Weekly Standard's Tucker Carlson says, "She's shown some real antagonism toward the conservative elements of her party and so it's no surprise they don't like her. And they don't."

Does it all add up to a Garden State upset? Maybe not. Though the polls show Whitman in a tight race, most of them also show her still in the lead.

In Other News:

Friday Oct. 31, 1997

Thompson Calls An End To Senate Funds Hearings
Sen. Thompson Says He Thinks Some Witnesses Lied
Fog Delays Clinton's Florida Trip
Car Tax Opposition Propels Gilmore's Candidacy
Two Conservatives Battle For Staten Island Seat
Whitman's Lead Shrinks In N.J. Governor's Race
Are There Ghosts Haunting The White House?

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