May 25, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Election Day 2014 is a day that most Democrats would like to forget. The Republicans swept into the majority in the Senate with a huge mandate and a sensational surge that absolutely decimated and disheartened Democrats across the United States.

While much of the attention was on national politics as control of the U.S. Senate hung in the balance, there were many hotly contested gubernatorial races that had huge implications in quite a number of states. When all of the votes were counted, the Republican trend that manifested itself on the national level was replicated in statehouses across the nation.

While the GOP emerged victorious in 26 gubernatorial contests, 16 of those races had a common link. The thread that tied those particular contests together was Chris Christie.

For all of those New Jersey residents who have been wondering where their governor has been since he was re-elected in November 2013, the answer became very apparent on Election Day. As chairman of the Republican Governors Association, Governor Christie has spent approximately a third of his second term outside of the Garden State. Instead of focusing exclusively on governing, Christie has spent a considerable amount of time traversing the country and campaigning on behalf of other Republican gubernatorial candidates.

Out of the shadow of Bridgegate and his state’s fiscal issues, Chris Christie has had the opportunity to bask in the glow of the national spotlight. Under Christie’s leadership, the Republican Governors Association has flourished, raising a staggering $106 million in just one year. As chairman, Christie has traveled to 36 states, including an incredible pre-Election Day swing that took him to 19 states in five days, including such key battlegrounds as Florida, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin. With 36 gubernatorial races on tap, Christie was a virtual one-man political campaign machine, and when the dust settled on Election Day after the polls closed, it became apparent that Christie had the Midas touch. Not only did Christie help many incumbent Republican governors retain their seats on Election Day, he also played a pivotal role in enabling the GOP to win the keys to the Governor’s Mansion in Arkansas and Illinois, which had previously been held by Democrats.

In a sign of just how pivotal Christie’s role was in scoring huge wins for Republican candidates, he made triumphant appearances on several national television news shows on the morning after Election Day to trumpet the GOP’s victories and further bolster his image as a key Republican kingmaker.

Other than being able to pat himself on the back, what does all of this mean for Chris Christie? More specifically, how does this impact Christie’s yearning desire to relocate to the big white house on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington?

The fact is that Christie’s tremendous showing on Election Day solidified his spot as a frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. Not only did he notch some impressive victories on November 4, he also buttressed his growing national network of big GOP donors and top Republican operatives. By visiting so many states that will play critical roles in 2016, Christie got a big jump on his potential Republican presidential rivals by establishing early connections with the voters and political leaders whose support they all covet.

Additionally, there are now Republican elected officials across the country who presumably feel indebted to Christie for his political and financial assistance. When the calendar turns to 2016 and the presidential primary season is in full swing, you can be sure that Christie will make the rounds to collect on all of these invaluable political IOU’s.

Chris Christie’s tenure as chairman of the Republican Governors Association has provided him with a unique opportunity to flaunt his fund raising prowess and display his keen political acumen. It has given him a much needed respite from the controversies that have dogged him in New Jersey and enabled him to prove to big Republican donors and GOP leaders that he is a force to be reckoned with on the national stage.

While other possible Republican presidential candidates jockey for position and contend with one another for media attention and national prominence, for the moment, Chris Christie has set himself apart by skillfully leveraging his chairmanship to get tangible results for GOP candidates.

Although he himself was not on the ballot on Election Day, Christie scored what was perhaps one of the biggest victories of the day. Christie flexed his political muscles and proved that he belongs in the ring with the other GOP hopefuls who are seeking to one day take home the ultimate championship belt.

Yes, Governor Christie undoubtedly has major issues to contend with in New Jersey and all eyes will inevitably be on him as he attempts to navigate the choppy political waters in his home state. However, Christie has the luxury of heading towards 2016 with an aura of invincibility after his virtuoso performance in the midterm elections. He will certainly be judged by his ability to govern effectively, but that will not necessarily be the primary factor that will come to define Chris Christie in the context of presidential conversations.

Christie’s legacy will be his role as a GOP kingmaker, which is what is going to catapult him to the front of the pack. It is safe to assume that there will be a bruising battle for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, but barring any future scandals or major mishaps by the New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie may be positioned to pick up the ultimate win.

N. Aaron Troodler is an attorney and principal of Paul Revere Public Relations, a public relations and political consulting firm. Visit him on the Web at TroodlersTake.blogspot.com, www.PaulReverePR.com, or www.JewishWorldPR.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @troodler

By N. Aaron Troodler, Esq.

 

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