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N.J. GOP gives up on draft of Christie

  |   Feb. 1, 2005 at 12:56 PM
TRENTON, N.J., Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Backers of the effort to draft Republican U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie into the 2005 New Jersey gubernatorial race have admitted defeat.

"We waited too long," one supporter said after acting New Jersey Gov. Richard Codey said he would not be a candidate, clearing the way for U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine, D-N.J., to run unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

Some Republicans, fearing none of the party's seven announced gubernatorial candidates could defeat Corzine, the multi-millionaire former chairman of Goldman Sachs, had tried unsuccessfully to persuade Christie to enter the race, going so far as to meet with the Republican National Committee to discuss the idea, the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger said Tuesday.

With Christie out of the race, party moderates began to line up behind businessman Doug Forrester, who won U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo's endorsement Sunday. And, with more expected this week, it "pretty much signals the end of the existing effort," one Christie backer said.

Forrester, who has already spent more than $1 million of his own money, has pulled even in polls with former Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler, the party's unsuccessful 2001 nominee.

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