By David Madden

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) – As the race for Governor in New Jersey heats up, here’s a word you could be hearing a lot: “Christie-crats.”

Right now…they number 43. Registered Democratic politicians in the state who have endorsed Republican incumbent Chris Christie for re-election. The only ones from our area to do so are the mayors of Chesilhurst and Burlington.

Rutgers Political Science professor David Redlawsk suggests the endorsements, for the most part, mean little to the average voter, but “one place they can play a big role is when those politicians have some kind of strong organization behind them,” he said.

Two of them do. Jersey City State Senator Brian Stack and Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo could deliver in parts of the very Democratic northern part of the state, but more to the point, Redlawsk believes the “Christie-crats” are a sign that Christie’s Democratic opponent, State Senator Barbara Buono, is having a hard time within her own party.

“It’s a really clear sign that the campaign of State Senator Barbara Buono, challenging Christie, is perceived to not be very strong,” Redlawsk said.

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