Christie poised for big win
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie looks like a big winner in tomorrow's election. Polls show him with huge leads of 15 points or more over his hapless Democratic challenger Barbara Buono.
Obviously, the New Jersey race will be closely watched for signs of relative strength or weakness on the part of Christie. New Jersey is a very blue state and a win of 20 points or more by Christie will start tongues wagging among many Republicans who are looking for a candidate in 2016 who can 1) unite the two warring factions of the GOP; and 2) appeal to the broadest section of the electorate that's possible.
Christie himself believes there are lessons to be learned from the way he has governed as well as how he has run his re-election campaign.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie described the message people will take nationally from his all-but-assured reelection on Tuesday as "it's inevitable," as he blasted the authors of the second "Game Change" book for trying to "sensationalize" things.
Christie made the comments Saturday evening to NBC News' Kelly O'Donnell, after a day on the campaign trail ahead of his Tuesday re-election fight against low-polling Democratic candidate Barbara Buono.
Asked by O'Donnell if it's fair to say that Christie, who is widely seen as a 2016 presidential contender on the GOP side, is planning for a message that extends beyond New Jersey, Christie replied, "I'm not planning for it, I just think it's inevitable."
In the interview, which aired on "Meet the Press," Christie added, "I think you people look at elections, and they try to discern things from them about what they mean at that moment and what they mean for the future. And I think that what people are going to see is so unusual for what our party has created in the last couple of years that invariably people are going to draw lessons from it and I hope they do."
Christie supporters see a contrast between his win-in-a-blue-state message as a governor and the dysfunction that has engulfed Washington, especially around the defund-Obamacare efforts that led to the government shutdown.
In Christie's calculations, Washington pols like Senators Paul and Cruz, and Rep. Ryan have such a bad odor about them because of the gridlock and shutdown that it is likely the nominee will spring from the ranks of GOP governors and former governors. It's a tempting scenario for him but far from being a sure thing.
Christie is probably not the governor that could unite both factions while running well among right leaning indies. His name is poison below the Mason-Dixon line and it is difficult to see how rank and file Republicans will ever forgive him for his bi-partisan embrace of Obama a week before the 2012 election.
And there are other issues that may doom his candidacy - his weight, his advocacy for some gun control measures, and issues relating to some of the cases he prosecuted as US Attorney. Other governors, like Indiana's Mike Pence, have a lot less baggage of that sort and while not possessing Christie's name recognition, would be more acceptable to those Republicans who identify with the Tea Party.
Still, a big win by Christie could not be ignored by national Republicans. Anyone wishing to run for president in 2016 will be forced to deal with Christie's claims that he is the one GOP candidate who could take the fight to Democrats on their own turf. Even if that's only an illusion, the perception is powerful enough that it would make Christie one of the frontrunners for the nomination.