Standing in the arcade of a venue that was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy just over a year ago, New Jersey governor Chris Christie claimed an overwhelming victory for re-election while also staking out the pole position for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
The victory party along the Asbury Park boardwalk (a ticketed event) had all the trappings of a presidential candidate rally more so than that of an event for a state officer, right down to the magnetometer screenings.
Though his comments focused on his record in New Jersey, it was apparent that Christie was speaking to a national audience.
Christie touched on the importance of reaching out to voter blocs beyond the political comfort zone, a not so subtle jab at Mitt Romney’s infamous 47% remark.
It’s worth noting in relation to the aforementioned that the one out of state party figure who had a prominent role at the Christie celebration was New Mexico governor Susana Martinez, one of the rising stars of the GOP though with a much lower profile than her fellow Hispanic officials Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
In what will be inferred as a shot at the TEA Party, Christie also stressed upon working with people across the aisle in order to get things done (lsurely an admirable principle though for Christie an absolute necessity since the Democrats dominate the state legislature).
As a potential White House contender, Christie brings a lot to the table- quasi-celebrity status, a larger than life personality, the ability to win big in hostile territory and the capacity to raise loads of money from the northeast, which is important in this post-matching fund political era.
Christie has fared well in national and early battleground state polls, even finishing first in a recent South Carolina survey. If the New Jersey governor won the Palmetto State primary, the fight for the party nomination would essentially end there.
Another advantage Christie will have is the leadership of the Republican Governors Association, an assignment that will put him before crowds in numerous states in the 2014 midterm elections and dispensing favors to dozens of GOP state executives and gubernatorial canfidates who will want the pugnacious politician associating with their campaigns.
Over the next few months there will begin a stampede of support for Christie that hasn’t been seen for an unannounced Republican presidential candidate since the “Austin pilgrimages” for George W. Bush in 1999.
How Team Christie handles these overtures now will be relevant for 2016, though so far he is playing coy. When a young lady yelled out “Christie for president” during his victory speech on Tuesday night, he playfully remarked that “there must be an open bar at the party”.
If nominated, Christie would be a much more conservative nominee than Romney and far better fighter than John McCain.
But don’t just take my word on Christie’s conservative credentials, consider what the New Jersey Star-Ledger had to say in its endorsement editorial that had all the sincerity of a forced confession.
The Star-Ledger wrote/lamented that their support of Christie, “comes with the hope that Democrats hold control of the legislature to contain his conservative instincts.”
Those “conservative instincts” specifically included Christie’s opposition to strong gun control legislation and raising taxes and his defunding of Planned Parenthood.
In my favorite part of their gnashing of teeth endorsement, the Star-Ledger decried Christie’s refusal to meet wirh them throughout his entire time in office, the first New Jersey governor to do so, which they took as, to use their own words, an insult
There you have it- a Republican who stands up to unions and the abortion industry who holds the established leftist media with little regard.
If I were Christie, I’d mail that editorial to every Republican voter in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.