Indeed, Garden State voters are among the most left-leaning in the country: They went for President Obama by a margin of nearly 18 percentage points in November.
Still, the state’s top seat is occupied by a brash Republican governor, Chris Christie, who won the hearts of many of his constituents once – and is likely to do so again later this year in New Jersey's gubernatorial race.
“You have to recall we’ll be coming off a pretty clear Christie victory in 2013,” says Dr. Harrison. “Chris Christie is the embodiment of the Republican Party in this state … so … there is going to be this kind of surging Republicanism in the state of New Jersey.”
Nonetheless, she says, “No [Republican contender] is waiting in the wings so well qualified, well organized, ready to step into the role immediately to combat the fundraising prowess Democrats currently have, namely [Newark Mayor] Cory Booker.”