Christie will gain from his “hands off” approach towards the recent U.S. Senate Special Election and subsequent election of Democratic Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Many Black voters may feel that Christie helped Booker get his Senate seat, but this may not be enough to make them go out of their way to vote for Christie. Especially when their own Democratic Party has done a poor job reminding them that there is an Election. The New Jersey and national Democratic Party surrendered this Gubernatorial campaign to Christie in the spring. The Democratic Governors Association has spent less than $5,000 supporting its own Democratic candidate, Barbara Buono, in this Election. Meanwhile, this same organization has spent over $6 million on the Democratic Governor candidate in Virginia. According to SMG Delta, a Virginia-based political tracking firm, Christie will likely have spent nearly $12 million dollars on television and radio ads alone compared to Buono’s $2.1 million.
One major point that has to be made is how Christie has avoided the word “Republican” as much as possible and being associated too closely to his Party. According to the Star-Ledger’s Matt Friedman, Christie has only publicly supported 3 Republican candidates (out of 120) with cable TV spots. There are more than a few Republican Assembly and Senate District candidates who are quite unhappy with the lack of public support that they are getting from their own Republican Governor. One such candidate told me off-the-record that they literally had to push their way through a crowd to even shake Christie’s hand at a campaign stop in the heart of their District. A mild “Republican backlash” could materialize tomorrow when many Republicans go in the voting booth and then remember Christie’s consistent criticisms of his own Party and his perceived disassociation from it. These voters could very well be called “Non-Tea Party-Tea Party Republicans.”
The politically interested and especially Right-leaning voters should keep an eye on New Jersey and the numbers behind the results that are released in the weeks ahead. You may find a roadmap for a potential Christie Presidential run or the template for a Rand Paul or Scott Walker to win in the Northeastern U.S. and the West Coast. What you won’t find is a playbook from the past.