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Chris Christie Announces He's Running For Reelection

77% approval rating today. Cory Booker has no chance. Booker was behind before Sandy hit.


MIDDLETOWN, N.J. -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie plans to spend the next year leading efforts to rebuild his home state after Superstorm Sandy – and running for re-election.

Christie announced his intention to seek a second term Monday, after telling his campaign treasurer to file papers so he can begin hiring campaign staff, selecting a headquarters and raising money toward his re-election. A formal announcement is expected in January.

"It would be wrong for me to leave now. I don't want to leave now," Christie, 50, said Monday. "We have a job to do. That job won't be finished by next year."

"The public needs to know that I'm in this for the long haul, that the person who has helped to lead them through the initial crisis wants to help lead them through the rebuilding and restoration of our state," he said at a news briefing at a fire house in Middletown, where he had come to thank first responders and volunteers.

The gubernatorial election is a year from now. The governor said he talked it over with his wife and four children, ages 9 to 19, over the weekend, and the decision that he should run was unanimous.

So far, no one has stepped forward to challenge him as governor. Several Democrats, most prominently Newark Mayor Cory Booker, have been thinking aloud about running for their party's nomination. Christie said he hadn't spoken with Booker other than by text in about 10 days and he didn't know the mayor's political intentions.

One recent public opinion poll ranked Booker as the Democrat who could come closest to beating the Republican governor.

But a new poll released Tuesday shows six out of 10 registered voters now support a second term for Christie, up 15 points since September.

The Rutgers-Eagleton poll also found the number of voters opposed to Christie's re-election declined from nearly half in September to about a third now.

Christie wins every hypothetical head-to-head matchup measured in the poll, including against Booker, who the poll has losing 34-53 percent with 13 percent choosing neither.

Christie carried the Democratic-leaning state by 86,000 votes in 2009, an upset win over Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine.

Christie, who has become a national figure during his first term, is riding an unprecedented wave of popularity because of how he handled the storm, which he said Friday had caused more than $29 billion in damage in New Jersey. Even Democrats have applauded his hands-on response. He appeared on "Saturday Night Live" in his trademark fleece pullover this month to lampoon his own nationally televised storm briefings.

About the only criticism directed his way since Superstorm Sandy attacked the coast in late October has come from fellow Republicans who have lambasted him for embracing President Barack Obama as the two toured New Jersey's ravaged coastline six days before the presidential election. Some even blame Christie for tipping a close election to the president.

Christie was the first governor to endorse Mitt Romney; he raised $18.2 million for the GOP nominee and crisscrossed the country as an in-demand surrogate for Republican candidates. Some are still questioning his party loyalty, however, as they did after Christie delivered the keynote address at the party's nominating convention in Tampa. Critics saw that August speech as too much about Christie and not enough about Romney.

The prospect of Christie seeking a second term became likely after he spurned overtures by Republican bigwigs to enter the 2012 presidential contest and more so when he later ruled himself out as vice presidential material with a resounding "I love the job I have now." Buzz over a Christie 2016 run has become muted since the governor boarded Marine One with Obama.

Christie's reputation for bluntness and penchant for confrontation have made him a YouTube sensation and sometimes obscured policy changes he has championed.

With the help of Democrats who control both houses of the state Legislature, Christie took on public worker unions, enacting sweeping pension and health benefits changes that cost workers more and are designed to shore up the underfunded public worker retirement and health care systems long term. He also enacted a 2 percent property tax cap with few loopholes to try to slow the annual growth rate of property taxes, already the highest in the nation at an average of $7,519 when adjusted for rebates.

Christie's education reforms have been slower to accomplish, and Democrats have refused to budge on his signature issue for this year, a phased-in 10 percent tax cut. With tax collections underperforming the administration's projections and storm rebuilding threatening to eat further into revenues, Democrats are unlikely to waver on their position that the state can't afford the cut.

Christie's handling of the state's struggling economy, a potential Achilles heel, has taken a back seat to the storm recovery. But unemployment remains a stubborn 9.7 percent, or 1.6 percent above the national jobless rate, and it's too early to tell whether tax collections will rebound to match administration projections for the fiscal year that began in July.

by Anonymousreply 1111/27/2012

Remember when he 'passed' on signing the Gay marriage bill? Yeah, don't forget it, he's a master manipulator.

He could have signed it, and been a hero then, but chose his 'party' line instead.

Funny, when he needs big dollars for the state he sings a different song. Schmuck.

by Anonymousreply 111/27/2012

To run or not to run, Booker faces the question — MSNBC

It’s been said that the Presidential campaign is a mere warm up act for the hottest of all political contests that takes place very four years—the New Jersey governorship.

A potential battle royal is looming for Jersey’s top job between incumbent Governor Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Coy Booker. A Christie/Booker match-up would pit two political stars of New Jersey, both of whom have gained significant national prominence, against each other in a clash of titans.

“It would be a very evenhanded race,” said former Governor Jim Florio. “Cory has a 50/50 chance against Christie, but I would tell the Governor the same thing,” he said. Booker is weighing the concerns that most ambitious young mayors face when mulling their political aspirations. Would he serve the public better as an executive or as a legislator, becoming one of 100 Senators?

It’s possible that Christie’s new poll numbers will discourage a competitive challenger in 2013. Still, Booker represents the Democrats best chance to unseat the Republican governor in this very blue state.

In the latest Quinnipiac University poll Tuesday, Christie’s job-approval rating climbed to a record 72%. It’s the highest score ever measured in a Quinnipiac poll for a New Jersey governor. On Monday, a Fairleigh Dickinson University Public Mind poll gave Christie a 77% approval rating.

A Christie adviser told the AP yesterday that the Governor plans to seek re-election. “I’m in this race and I’m in it to win,” the governor said later in the day to applause in a Port Monmouth firehouse, where he thanked firefighters, rescue workers, and volunteers for helping Sandy victims.

“He’s in a good spot and his approvals are through the roof,” said former Governor Christine Todd Whitman. “He wants to lock in his legacy and get things done now,” she said. Christie’s style, for better or worse, has served him well in a state known for its blunt force political environment, said Florio, who served as governor between 1989 and 1993 before losing to Whitman.

“People feel he’s very clear about what it is he stands for and what it is he’s against,” Florio said. “But, they also aren’t used to politicians calling people out or calling them liars,” he said, referring to Christie’s infamous 2010 spat with his former Education Commissioner, Brett Schundler.

Christie’s confrontational and sometimes aggressive approach suits him well in a political age when toughness and thick skin is required for the brutality and, often personally nasty, 21st century campaigning.

“You don’t have opponents anymore,” said Florio, a one-time amateur boxer. “You have enemies.”

One thing Florio and his former rival Whitman agree on today is the future of the charismatic Mayor from Newark. “He’s the best candidate the Democrats have,” Whitman said. “He’ll clear the field no matter what he does.”

It’s unclear whether Booker will take the plunge to run against the popular Christie or wait to see if Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg retires in 2014, leaving an opening for the mayor to run for the U.S. Senate instead.

“Cory is already seeking commitments for the governor’s race,” said one prominent Democrat close to Booker who asked not to be named.

Another source who has advised and worked for Democratic candidates in New Jersey for decades said “I’d be shocked if Booker ran for Governor, but he sure is capable of out of the box decisions.”

Being Governor of New Jersey is a particularly unique position where it’s leader can accomplish a lot.

“Constitutionally, it’s the most powerful Governorship in all of the 50 states,” Whitman said. “It’s the center of gravity for New Jersey politics, even more central to power than U.S. Senate seats,” said a New Jersey Democratic operative close to Booker and Lautenberg. Booker has a reputation for being fiscally moderate, which comes with the responsibility of being a Mayor and balancing a budget, but also a modern day progressive when it comes to equality and other social values issues.

But, he also faces challenges in his home town of Newark. Last week, Booker angered city council members and sparked mayhem at a meeting when he cast the deciding vote for a vacant council seat.

Christie faces hurdles of his own—the state faces a budget shortfall that will need to be balanced, a clash over state employee health benefits and a decision whether to join the joint state-federal exchanges is waiting.

While he has received near universal praise for his leadership through Hurricane Sandy, the Governor now faces the demands and urgency all executives face in the aftermath of natural disasters. Even Whitman acknowledges that navigating “storm politics” can be tricky. “When people have lost everything, you can’t do enough for them fast enough,” She said. “It’s going to get tough.”

Instead of challenging the popular Christie, said Democratic strategist Bob Shrum, Booker should wait to run for the Senate because he would likely be the Democrats best hope to hold Senator Lautenberg’s seat, should he retire. “You have to have credibility and money,” Shrum said. “Booker has both of those and a built-in base,” he said.

Lautenberg, 90, one of Christie’s fiercest critics, has faced tough races and has been written off in the past. Yet, he has overcome past health problems and been coy about his retirement plans. Whitman, a Republican, believes Lautenberg’s greatest vulnerability in 2014 would come in the face of primary challenge from Booker.

“All you have to do is look at Milli Fenwick,” the former Governor said, referring to the popular Bernardsville Congresswoman who lost to Lautenberg by four points in a heated 1982 Senate race.

In that campaign, Lautenberg took unveiled swipes at the 72-year-old Fenwick’s age, quoting former President Gerald Ford as saying that Fenwick was “a little eccentric.” He also said it was up to voters to determine Fenwick’s fitness to serve. At the time Lautenberg was criticized for injecting age as a campaign issue.

His 2008 primary opponent, Rep. Rob Andrews, tried this strategy and ran a TV ad using the Senator’s words from 1982 against him.

Andrews lost to Lautenberg by 23 percentage points.

by Anonymousreply 211/27/2012

Christie came out a big winner in this election cycle.

He's moderate on social issues. Like Obama, he'll move on same-sex marriage when public opinion gives him sufficient cover to survive a primary challenge or run as an independent.

I'm trying to ignore his bluster and enormous girth. If you listen to him, take the time to consider what he's doing and to understand some of the more controversial budget cuts he's made, I think you'd find he is much less of an asshole that you'd expect.

For a Republican, he's not a total douchebag and his state is doing okay.

He is much more centrist than you might think.

by Anonymousreply 311/27/2012

r3 = Christie fanboi whose been on here before.

Christie is an embarrassment. I've never seen someone throw a tantrum, and tell reporters to shut the fuck up, calling them stupid, and morons on camera. The man is a pig.

by Anonymousreply 411/27/2012

He'll be running for President in '16.

by Anonymousreply 511/27/2012

He's an opportunist asshole.

by Anonymousreply 611/27/2012

If Christie ran for POTUS would his fitness be questioned because even if he can fit into the White House I doubt his overworked heart would make it through his first term.

by Anonymousreply 711/27/2012

[quote][R3] = Christie fanboi whose been on here before.

who's = contraction of "who is" or "who has"

by Anonymousreply 811/27/2012

I think if he runs for President, his enormous size may help him, because he looks exactly like the average American. We have become a nation of enormous fat fucks.

by Anonymousreply 911/27/2012

He still, yuch.

by Anonymousreply 1011/27/2012

Booker would be the only one with a chance.

As for 2016 presidential, conservative Rs will not vote for him. They are steamed at his fat ass.

by Anonymousreply 1111/27/2012
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