Last week, it came out that New Jersey‘s Republican Governor Chris Christie refused to campaign for Ken Cuccinelli in the Virginia governor’s race, which no doubt contributed to Cuccinelli’s loss. The jovial, fun-loving, charismatic Christie is wildly popular, with the second highest approval rating of Republican governors. He won re-election in Democratic-stronghold New Jersey by a landslide last week, with 60 percent of the vote to his Democrat challenger’s 39 percent.
Christie and the Republican establishment wrote the Virginia gubernatorial race off; the RNC spent only one-third as much money on the race than it did in 2009. Even so, Democrat Terry McAuliffe beat Cuccinelli by just over two percentage points. Cucinelli won the Independent vote by 9 points, evidence his message was resonating and he wasn’t perceived as too extreme for Virginia’s swing voters. A Libertarian candidate contributed to his defeat, taking 6.8 percent of the vote. The Libertarian candidate was able to get on the ballot due to a sleazy donation from a billionaire Obama campaign bundler in Texas. Democratic pollster Celinda Lake brazenly admitted the Libertarian candidate would take away votes from Cuccinelli, not the Democrat, saying the day before the election, “I am hopeful for the Libertarian to do well tomorrow.”
The morning of his re-election, Christie told a CNN news anchor that he is a conservative. This comes as a surprise to many, since Christie has done numerous things to cast doubt that he is a conservative. He first irritated conservatives on a national scale by appearing with Obama in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, praising him for his leadership and giving him a hug. Only days before the presidential election, the gesture of support hurt Mitt Romney. In May of this year, Christie was back at it, playing a football toss boardwalk game with Obama on the Jersey Shore, ostensibly to promote tourism.