A political action committee is spending about $400,000 on advertising that ties some New Jersey Republican candidates to unpopular Governor Chris Christie.
That could affect who holds the top position in the state Assembly.
Rider University political science professor Ben Dworkin says most headcounts of majority Democrats in the Assembly show that current Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto does not have enough support to continue in that role.
But the political action committee’s support for Democrats in districts where Republicans usually don't face serious challenges could change things for Prieto.
"If he's able to have these candidates win in these Republican areas, the math changes. And if he's able to pull off enough of these upsets around the state, then he may well find the votes to continue for another term."
Montclair State University political science professor Brigid Harrison says the odds are against it.
"To hinge one's leadership on the outcome of really non-competitive races is perhaps a testimony to where Mr. Prieto stands right now."
Assemblyman Craig Coughlin of Middlesex County has indicated he the backing of enough Assembly Democrats to take over as Speaker.