Two new surveys were released in both states where Governor’s elections are underway for this year. First, Christopher Newport University (3/16-26; 831 VA registered voters) finds Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and former US Rep. Tom Perriello tied in the Democratic primary cell group. Both men command 26% support according to the survey. Each has growth potential, Perriello among liberals and northern Virginia residents, while Northam has the opportunity to expand his support base in southwestern VA and with moderates. This race is cutting along the Clinton vs. Sanders presidential battle lines. The establishment Dems are lining up behind Northam while the outsider liberal base is gravitating toward Perriello.
For the Republicans, ex-Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie has opened up a large lead over Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chair Corey Stewart and State Sen. Frank Wagner. Gillespie leads the pair, 38-11-10%, respectively. Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) is ineligible to seek re-election. Virginia is the only state in the Union that limits its chief executive to one term in office.
In New Jersey, Fairleigh Dickinson University surveyed the projected primary electorates from their March 22-26 poll that questioned 758 NJ registered voters. Former Ambassador Phil Murphy and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno have sizable leads in the Democratic and Republican primaries, respectively. For Murphy, the former diplomat leads state Assemblyman John Wisniewski and former US Treasury Under Secretary Jim Johnson, 23-4-4%, with State Sen. Raymond Lesniak drawing 3 percent.
For the GOP, Lt. Gov. Guadagno draws 24% support over Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli who gets 4%. Attorney Dana Wefer is at 2%, with Nutley Town Commissioner Steven Rogers and businessman Joseph Rullo each pulling only 1% support. Both Murphy and Guadagno are now prohibitive favorites for their party nominations. Mr. Murphy has the inside track toward capturing the Governor’s mansion in November. Gov. Chris Christie (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.
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