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New Jersey Democrats Are Sucking Up To Chris Christie

The governor's one-time rivals are now singing his praises, as he's coasting to re-election.

Among the many Democrats that Christie has worked with: New Jersey Senate nominee Cory Booker (Getty)

photo of Kevin Brennan
October 8, 2013

There's nothing better than an anticipated landslide re-election to get leaders from the other party to make nice with you. That's what New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is finding out as he makes new Democratic friends even in the middle of his campaign.

Over the last three weeks, Christie has made joint appearances with three of the state's most powerful Democrats, leaving state Sen. Barbara Buono, Christie's struggling Democratic opponent, forced to watch as some of her highest-profile supporters heap praise upon the governor.

On Monday, Christie shared the stage with Garden State Democratic power broker George Norcross on Monday at the opening of a cancer center at a Camden hospital. Norcross has endorsed Buono, but he gushed over her opponent on Monday. After saying he recently saw a man wearing a "Chris Christie: Too Big To Fail" T-shirt, Norcross said to the Republican: "You're not too big to fail -- you're too good and too important to fail us."

 

A week earlier, Christie and Democratic state Senate President Steve Sweeney, who passed on a gubernatorial run earlier this year and backed Buono, "looked like old friends" while attending a groundbreaking at Rowan University to highlight their work together on higher education legislation. Sweeney, who once called Christie a bully and a punk, told the governor: "I want to thank you for your willingness to work with a Democrat legislature."

Meanwhile, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the Democratic nominee in next week's U.S. Senate special election, joined Christie two weeks ago for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Newark's charter school program. Booker, who has endorsed Buono but has a famously friendly relationship with the governor, said: "The lines that divide us are not as strong as the ties that bind us. I want to give some guv love."

These joint appearances, along with the growing list of Garden State Democrats who have endorsed Christie, gel perfectly with one of his reelection campaign's overarching messages: That Christie has a unique ability to forge compromises in an era of hyper-partisanship. Buono has balked at that claim, but each time one of her backers touts his cooperation with the governor, it undercuts Buono's attempts to cast the governor as an uncompromising ideologue.It also gives Christie some important Democratic allies if he decides to run for president in 2016.

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