Does the NJEA PAC Represent its Members?

There’s some surprising poll numbers coming out in N.J.. PolitickerNJ reports that, according to the recent Monmouth County poll, Christie is leading 47% to 37% among teachers. That’s noteworthy because the NJEA PAC has loudly endorsed Corzine, and Christie is well-known for his unapologetic support of charter schools and vouchers, an agenda historically anathema to NJEA. Also, last week the PAC issued 70 endorsements for legislators, of whom 60 are incumbents. The message: stick with the status quo.

Does the discrepancy between the PAC’s Corzine endorsement and the Monmouth poll amount to anything? Wojciech Siemaszkiewicz, a Republican candidate for Assembly in District 37, is hoping so. He has a press release out exhorting NJEA members to ignore their PAC’s recommendations of his opponents Gordon Johnson and Valerie Vainieri Huttle:
By endorsing the tax-increasing ticket of Jon Corzine, already the current most Anti-Taxpayer Governor in the United States and the most Anti-Taxpayer Governor in New Jersey’s history and Lt. Governor candidate Loretta Weinberg, and their rubber stamping Assembly members Johnson and Huttle, the NJEA proves that it is not a non-partisan voice of its members. Rather, it is a special interest group taking care of its own self-interests regardless of the impact on the taxpayers of New Jersey, including its own members.
New Jerseyans are mad as hell right now -- at the State’s insolvency, at corrupt politicians, at their property tax bills. All this signals support for a new administration. But NJEA is demanding support for the status quo from its 200,000 members. Maybe teachers will follow orders at the end of the day, but the Monmouth poll indicates that at least some of them are thinking of breaking off from the PAC(k).

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