Battle for NJ GOP Gubernatorial Nod Heats Up

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With a month to go before New Jersey voters head to the polls, the battle for the Republican Gubernatorial nomination is heating up. WNYC's Bob Hennelly has more.

REPORTER: The three-way race between former US Attorney Chris Christie, former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan and Morris County Assemblyman Rich Merkt is turning into a slug fest between Christie and Lonegan, with Merkt above the fray.

Both Christie and Lonegan are going negative in response to the other's attack. This week Lonegan enlists Joe the Plumber to rally his conservative base at a fundraiser in Clark. Christie has an appearance with former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

The central issues so far are which candidate has the best chance to unseat incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine, and which candidate is most likely to shrink state government and reduce the state's tax burden.

Robo calls, mass mailings and and radio attack ads are all aimed at trying to sway what is ultimately a shrinking party, Less than one in five registered is a Republican, compared with one in three now a registered Democrat. For WNYC in New Jersey I am Bob Hennelly.