Chris Christie Re-elected Governor of New Jersey

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from The New York Times,

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey won re-election by a crushing margin on Tuesday, a victory that vaulted him to the front rank of Republican presidential contenders and made him his party’s foremost proponent of pragmatism over ideology.

n a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by over 700,000, Mr. Christie won decisively, making impressive inroads, exit polls found, among younger voters, blacks, Hispanics and women — groups that Republicans nationally have struggled to attract.

The governor prevailed despite holding positions contrary to those of many New Jersey voters on several issues, including same-sex marriage, abortion rights and the minimum wage, and despite an economic recovery that has trailed the rest of the country.

But he attracted a broad coalition by campaigning as a decisive, even swaggering, leader who could reach across the aisle to solve problems, unlike the bickering politicians of Washington.

Republicans panicked by the surge in activist support for the rabble-rousing Tea Party wing represented by Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul were cheered by Mr. Christie’s success, saying they hope the party will learn not only from the size of Mr. Christie’s margin over Barbara Buono, a Democratic state senator, but also from the makeup of his support. “We’ll be led back by our governors, and Chris Christie is now at the forefront of that resurgence,” said Ed Gillespie, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee. “He’s proved that a conservative Republican can get votes from Hispanics and African-Americans, that a pro-life governor can get votes from women. This means that those voters are available to us, that we’re not shut out demographically or geographically — that it’s worth the effort.”

Mr. Christie’s strategy and message of bipartisanship deliberately echoed that of another Republican governor who seized the White House after eight years of Democratic control and Republican civil war: George W. Bush.

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