The Democrats’ Bill Cahill Backfire

Wrestling with Gov. Chris Christie’s favorable job approval rating, those Democrats irritated with Christie want to find a feel-good narrative from New Jersey political history.   

In the face of the political establishment’s invocation of Peter Shapiro’s doomed 1985 challenge of Gov. Tom Kean as the likely fate of whoever ends up running against Christie in a general election, some Democratic Party leaders have tried to paint the 2013 Republican incumbent as the next William T. Cahill.

A Democratic Party county chairman got some yuks on yesterday’s conference call when he compared Christie to Cahill, according to a source, and later the same afternoon, another chair kick-started the comparison in a conversation with PolitickerNJ.com.

“Cahill was the GOP’s golden boy, a national star,” said a party chair, referring to the Republican governor as he headed toward his 1973 re-election. “Then along came the man who couldn’t be bought: Brendan Byrne.”

It sounds great.

Only it’s not true.

It was the GOP that derailed Cahill in the 1973 Republican Primary for governor, not Brendan in the general election.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Sandman challenged Cahill from the right, won the GOP Primary, and then lost to Byrne in the general.

There does not at this time appear to be an exorcised, well-organized movement from the right to challenge Christie in a primary.

"I’m an undertaker by trade, so when I bury somebody, they don’t come back."
—Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato