Earthquake: Christie wins in NJ

Posted on November 3, 2009

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Of the three heavily watched national races, the governor’s race in New Jersey was the one that most on both sides looked toward most closely as a bellwether for the national mood and the fortunes of both political parties. In an upset that is sure to send shock waves to Washington, D.C., Republican candidate Chris Christie won against incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine in a deep blue state that went heavily for Obama just one year ago.

This was to be an extremely close contest, but the AP and NBC called the race with 20% of precincts not yet reporting. There was a lot of dissatisfaction with Corzine in New Jersey, but this win is an upset and an eye-opener no matter how you look at it.

Extrapolating this win forward to 2010 is a dicier proposal. Trying to say that New Jersey is now a red state would be an absolutely laughable assertion – Democratic influence will continue to remain strong there. It’s also absolutely correct to say that in an off-year, you have lower turnout, especially among the demographics that turned out heavily for Obama last year. In addition, it’s also fair to say that these races hinge on local and state matters that may have no bearing on national elections.

On the other hand, it’s foolish to look at the wins in Virginia and New Jersey in a complete vacuum. Voters in those states, like the rest of the country, are unhappy for a reason, and Congress and the administration play a role in that national dissatisfaction, however large or small you want to make that role.

But particularly in New Jersey, the President spent a lot of time campaigning for the Democratic candidates. Obama made five trips to the Garden State and sent his campaign team to manage Corzine’s effort there. A loss for Corzine is obviously a reflection on his failed governorship, but it also points to Obama’s declining influence in even the bluest of states to turn the tide with a massive amount of energy on his part.

I was hopeful about this race, but I’m still shocked that Christie was able to pull it off. So far we have an impressive duo of wins for the GOP tonight.

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Posted in: News, Politics