Chris Christie has pretty much all but declared he will seek the 2016 Republican nomination. His major message – he can win.
Christie said his blunt, tell-it-like-it-is style makes him attractive to people who have not voted Republican before and said that polling shows 95 percent of Republicans still support him.
“You don’t have to sacrifice your base voters to win Latino votes,” he said. “You don’t have to sacrifice your base voters to win a share of African-American votes. You don’t have to sacrifice your base voters to be able to win building-trade votes. You don’t have to sacrifice your base voters to close a gender gap and turn it in the other direction.”
He noted that he is on track to win 35 percent of Democratic votes in a state where the opposition has a 750,000 voter registration advantage, and that polling shows he’s winning independents 3-to-1.
Then he boasted about a string of endorsements: “This year for governor I’ve been endorsed by the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey, the largest Latino political group in the state, and they’ve never before endorsed a Republican for statewide office,” he said to applause.
“I’ve been endorsed by the executive director of the Black Ministers Council and 24 intercity African-American ministers,” he went on. “If you listen to the national media, you’d think this could never happen, that African-American leaders of this country will never stand with Republicans. We’re going to show you in New Jersey this year that that is simply not true.”
“Lots of folks talk in our party about a gender gap, and we have a gender gap in New Jersey, too,” he continued. “The last public poll showed that I’m winning women 59 to 30 in New Jersey. We have a gender gap, a plus-29 gender gap in New Jersey. And, by the way, I’m running against a female opponent!”
Some of those endorsements may be because he is obviously going to win anyway, but there is no doubt he has wide appeal.
Christie repeatedly made the point that these people do not agree with him on 100 percent of issues.
“Our party’s got to get back to looking people in the eye, not try to figure out what they want to hear,” he said. “I tell folks in my state all the time if you’re looking for the candidate you agree with 100 percent of the time, go home and look in the mirror. You’re it. You’re the only person you agree with 100 percent of the time, alright? If that’s the litmus test, forget it!”
Christie left no doubts in the minds of Republican leaders gathered here for the party’s summer meeting that he will begin actively running for president after he wins the expected coronation in New Jersey this November.
There was a recent poll asking people to rate some politicians from 0 to 100 for favourability. Christie topped the field:
- Gov. Christie – 53.1
- Secretary Clinton – 52.1
- Sen. Warren – 49.2
- President Obama – 47.6
- Sen. Gillibrand – 47.6
- Sen. Cruz – 46.8
- Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida – 46.5
- Vice President Joseph Biden – 46.2
- Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley – 45.7
- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal – 45.2
- Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky – 44.8
- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo – 43.9
What is interesting is the breakdown by party affiliation:
- Gov. Christie – 59.8 GOP/53.2 DEM
- Secretary Clinton – 77.7 DEM/31.6 GOP
- Sen. Warren – 65.0 DEM/32.3 GOP
- President Obama – 76.3 DEM/18.2 GOP
- Sen. Gillibrand – 58.5 DEM/37.2 GOP
- Sen. Cruz – 65.6 GOP/24.5 GOP
- Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida – 65.1 GOP/32.9 DEM
- Vice President Joseph Biden – 69.5 DEM/23.8 GOP
- Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley – 53.7 DEM/41.3 GOP
- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal – 59.4 GOP/29.7 DEM
- Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky – 61.6 GOP/23.8 DEM
- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo – 55.0 DEM/34.1 GOP
Every other politician has a huge split on party lines. Christie is unique in his cross-party appeal. If he can win the nomination, he would be a nightmare for Democrats in the main election.