The Republican’s quest for a likable political star could now be over. The party have struggled to find anybody to rival the likes of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton in terms of popularity but now they may have found their man. That man is Chris Christie, who has just been re-elected to a second term as governor of New Jersey.
What makes him special is he is a Republican who Democrats can vote for. He won the state that voted 58.4 per-cent to re-elect President Obama with 60 per-cent of the vote. In his re-election he got 56 per-cent of the votes of women, even though his opponent, Barbara Buono, was female. He also won 48 per-cent of Hispanic voters and 20 per-cent of African- Americans, more than doubling his 9 per-cent he won in 2009. These are the groups that in the last two presidential elections the Republicans have failed to get the support of.
Republicans have got every right to be excited over these results which could make Mr Christie a leading contender in the Republicans 2016 race. Last year, his national reputation was boosted by the events of Hurricane Sandy which smashed into the Jersey shore just days before the Presidential election, even though his support for President Obama cost him credibility among people in his own party. But is does show that he can work with politicians from other parties and he has the support of many Democrats. Brian Stack, one local Democrat mayor in New Jersey openly supported Christie. As we have seen in the past month, support amongst both parties is crucial and this could also be another factor in support of Christie. Nobody in America would want to see another shutdown.
If Christie does decided to run in 2016, he will face opposition from the right of the party, most notably the Tea Party. He is labelled as a ‘moderate’ by the right, a claim he denies. ‘I’ve governed conservatively’ he responds. It is clear that if he does run, he will not follow Mitt Romney’s strategy by tackling the right to win a Republican Primary and then quickly try to move back the centre.
His unique persona – ‘a blend of cuddly father figure and irascible tough guy’- could also help him. However, he will face heavy opposition. But he is an ideal candidate for the party which has failed to attract women and minority voters. Because of this, he seems to be the best bet the Republicans have of obtaining the presidency in 2016.