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.

National Journal
Kevin Brennan
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Kevin Brennan
Oct. 8, 2013, 12:13 p.m.

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.

What We're Following See More »
FCC Tightens Internet Privacy Standards
3 hours ago

Along party lines, the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to tighten privacy standards for Internet service providers. "The regulations will require providers to receive explicit customer consent before using an individual’s web browsing or app usage history for marketing purposes. The broadband industry fought to keep that obligation out of the rules."

Obama Commutes Another 98 Sentences
4 hours ago

President Obama commuted the sentences of another 98 drug offenders on Thursday. Most of the convicts were charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs or possession with intent to distribute. Many of the sentences were commuted to expire next year, but some will run longer. Others are required to enroll in residential drug treatment as a condition of their release.

DOJ Busts More Than 50 for Call Center Scam
4 hours ago

The Department of Justice announced today it's charged "61 individuals and entities for their alleged involvement in a transnational criminal organization that has victimized tens of thousands of persons in the United States through fraudulent schemes that have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. In connection with the scheme, 20 individuals were arrested today in the United States and 32 individuals and five call centers in India were charged for their alleged involvement. An additional U.S.-based defendant is currently in the custody of immigration authorities."

Johnson on Ballot Everywhere, Followed by Stein, McMullin
6 hours ago
Is McMullin Building the GOP in Exile?
8 hours ago

Evan McMullin, the independent conservative candidate who may win his home state of Utah, is quietly planning to turn his candidacy into a broader movement for principled conservatism. He tells BuzzFeed he's "skeptical" that the Republican party can reform itself "within a generation" and that the party's internal "disease" can't be cured via "the existing infrastructure.” The ex-CIA employee and Capitol Hill staffer says, “I have seen and worked with a lot of very courageous people in my time [but] I have seen a remarkable display of cowardice over the last couple of months in our leaders.” McMullin's team has assembled organizations in the 11 states where he's on the ballot, and adviser Rick Wilson says "there’s actually a very vibrant market for our message in the urban northeast and in parts of the south."


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.