NJ: Declare Your Independence

The New Jersey Star Ledger has endorsed independent candidate Chris Daggett for governor of the Garden State. Via The Thirds:
The Star-Ledger today endorses independent candidate Chris Daggett and recommends his election as the next governor of New Jersey. The newspaper’s decision is less a rejection of Gov. Jon Corzine and Republican Chris Christie than a repudiation of the parties they represent, both of which have forfeited any claim to the trust and confidence of the people of New Jersey. They share responsibility for the state’s current plight. Only by breaking the hold of the Democratic and Republican mandarins on the governor’s office and putting a rein on their power will the state have any hope for the kind of change needed to halt its downward economic, political and ethical spiral.

New Jersey needs radical change in Trenton. Neither of the major parties is likely to provide it. Daggett’s election would send shock waves through New Jersey’s ossified political system and, we believe, provide a start in a new direction. It would signal the entrenched leadership of both parties — and the interest groups they regularly represent — that an ill-served and angry electorate demands something better.

The lamentable fact is that the two parties are, themselves, little more than narrow special interests. Their competition for short-term political and/or monetary gain has jeopardized the state’s long-term economic health and left it with a tarnished national reputation. Where the major parties have differed, their differences have been inconsequential. Where they’ve been the same, their similarities have been destructive . . . . . .

We believe Daggett is best.

For disappointed Democrats and Republicans, a decision to vote for Daggett will mean a break with party loyalty — no easy thing. What we’re suggesting is a temporary suspension of that loyalty as a way to begin changing the corrosive culture of Trenton. Daggett would owe nothing to either party establishment; he’d be free to recruit best talent wherever he found it. As he told The Star-Ledger editorial board, he’d feel no obligation to honor the traditional Democratic-Republican deal that requires bipartisan balance on the Supreme Court. He’d apparently take the best he could find regardless of party affiliation — or lack thereof. For too long, the cliche about New Jersey’s two great parties has seemed all too true — that Democrats are corrupt, Republicans incompetent. Nothing will cause them to change their ways for the better except repudiation at the polls Nov. 3.

The election of Chris Daggett would deliver that repudiation and put a highly qualified occupant in the corner office at the Statehouse.

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