It's hard to get excited about a predictable gubernatorial election in the midst of a potential collapse of our healthcare system, but New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is about to become a huge story. As a Republican, Christie is set to defy the narrative now defining the party — of extremism or obstructionism — and win an overwhelming bipartisan victory for a second term as governor in a blue state.
Having attracted more than double the support of his Democratic opponent, according to all polling of the race, Christie is working to build up an astounding margin of victory Tuesday night in order to illustrate his bipartisan appeal in a 2016 presidential campaign. Thus far, and he is likely working until the eleventh hour for more, 58 Democratic office holders in New Jersey have publicly endorsed Christie over their party's nominee, state Sen. Barbara Buono.
Should he choose to become a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, Christie is likely to enjoy broad support from business interests and traditional Republicans while facing vigorous opposition from certain portions of the grass roots who will never forgive him for embracing President Obama's visit to the Garden State after Hurricane Sandy with the kindest of words. Ironically, Christie had already enraged many Republicans months earlier at the Republican National Convention when he took the opportunity as keynote speaker to talk more of himself than Mitt Romney, the nominee he was there to help elect. Yet his later apostasy — featuring Obama — so eclipsed his narcissistic transgression that no one even mentions it anymore.
There will be an enormous attraction to Christie if he runs for president. Republicans supporting him will argue he is the only chance the GOP has against Hillary Clinton and insist that unlike, say, Sen. Marco Rubio, he has a long record of problem solving as governor and is untainted by the toxicity of Washington D.C.
Christie has already refused to pledge he will complete the second term as governor he hasn't even been elected to. It's clear he has his eyes on 2016, but the people of New Jersey don't seem to be bothered by that. After Tuesday, it's game on.
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