In his assessment of the GOP's electoral chances in 2009, Michael Barone of the American Enterprise Institute says the party has a solid chance to take back the Garden State.

Speaking at CPAC, Barone slammed Gov. Jon Corzine's Wall Street background as a major negative given the current economic environment. And he took a shot at the governor over a controversy still dogging Corzine--his relationship with union leader Carla Katz.

"[Corzine] also paid off the mortgage of his former girlfriend, who happens to be the head of the state's largest union," said Barone, referencing Katz.

Of former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie, the likely Republican nominee for governor, Barone says "we have a strong Republican candidate there. I think that's a possible breakthrough."

Shane D'Aprile is senior editor at Politics magazine.