Christy Todd Whittman and Franks candidacy doomed the GOP there and Lautenberg and Torricelli were very well liked there. It wasn't until 2002 and after that NJ was tramatized by 911 that they began flurting with the GOP again with the likes of Forrester and Kean along with the Bob Torricelli and McGreevey scandles.
Yeah but Franks only lost to Corzine by 3 points in the 2000 US Senate Race. Lautenburg is still very well liked too. Christie Whittman wasn't up for election or any re-election either in 2000. Yeah Forrester he lost the 2002 US Senate Race and the 2005 Governor's race. I think Corzine when he was governor hurt the NJ Democratic Party more than any Torricelli or McGreevey scandle. Corzine was not well liked in the NJ suburbs. The only place that he had good support was urban counties like Essex and Hudson.
Anyways as far as Al Gore winning 56-40% over Bush W. in 2000 in NJ well Clinton beat Dole in 1996 51-35% in NJ too. NJ really liked Clinton.