Signs of life for the GOP in the northeast?

Former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, the front-runner for the Republican nomination, is unfamiliar to a majority of New Jersey voters but nevertheless has taken a 9-point lead over Corzine in the latest Quinnipiac poll. On the campaign trail, he has criticized Democratic wasteful spending and has promised to put the state’s fiscal house in order…

The economic crisis is also fueling opposition to Dodd, a five-term senator whose personal financial dealings and role as Senate Banking Committee chairman have been closely scrutinized and under attack. His recent admission concerning the insertion of a provision into the stimulus legislation — the one that effectively allowed American International Group employees to receive millions in bonuses — threatens to derail his bid for a sixth term in 2010…

In New York, the special election for Gillibrand’s old House seat, scheduled for March 31, has evolved into a referendum of Obama’s stimulus package. Democrat Scott Murphy touts his support of the legislation, while Republican Jim Tedisco, who wavered before eventually weighing in against it, argues it contains too much wasteful spending…

After seeing the party’s 2006 gubernatorial nominee get thrashed by Spitzer, Republicans are optimistic about their chances in 2010 — especially if former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has said he is considering a gubernatorial campaign, jumps in. Polls have shown him leading the embattled Democratic governor.