The good news for Chris Christie is that he has triumphed in a hard-fought primary campaign without any major damage, and that he enters the general election with the best chance to win New Jersey since Christie Todd Whitman was reelected in 1997.
The contest with Steve Lonegan got heated, but Christie would be wise to offer some kind and appreciative words to his rival and his supporters. Lonegan’s supporters can keep their heads held high; mayor of Bogota is hardly a natural platform to run for statewide office, and 42 percent of the vote is nothing to sneeze at. Lonegan supporters had passion, drive, dedication and intensity. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough of them. Some will loudly proclaim that they’ll vote third party or stay home, but if Christie is willing to throw them a bone or two, the vast majority will see that a Governor Christie will be vastly superior to four more years of Governor Corzine. As most are rock-ribbed conservatives, they’ll probably object to a supremely unpopular governor who has generated poor results trying to grab a second term through cheap, irrelvant Bush-bashing.
Lonegan, in his concession speech: “I congratulated Chris Christie on his astounding effort in his victory… We have built a movement.” After citing some victories by political allies in races for lower office, he said, “This is just the beginning, folks. America is an ongoing revolution.”
“We have to be united in one cause: We have to beat Jon Corzine… We must come together as one. It’s up to us to join together and take this state in the right direction. It’s up to us. We can still do it. Yes, we will.”