Last week, Chris Christie was reelected as the governor of New Jersey. Not a surprising fact, his victory was unquestionable. Christie won 60.5% of the vote. Now, the question everyone wants answered is whether Chris Christie will remain in that office for four years or move on to a bigger* one?
The answer: not even Chris Christie knows—or so he says.
Since his reelection, Christie has been hitting the TV circuit hard. On some Sunday talk shows, he dismissed speculation of a 2016 run, telling Fox news, “What I’m interested in doing is being the governor of New Jersey.” Yet, later that day, he told ABC’s This Week that he isn’t sure he will complete the full four years of his term, telling George Stephanopoulos that predictions like those are hard to make.
This begs us to ask another question. Is Chris Christie right for the Republican Party? Also up to debate. Even after the government shutdown, the Tea Party is the most politically active force in the Republican party. In order to win the Republican nomination, Christie would have to appeal to the far right-voters of republican primaries. It is possible that he is not “conservative” enough to do so. The Tea Party movement is against Christie as a nominee. To them, Christie seems anti-Republican, especially in light of comments he made about Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, proclaiming his call for the continuation of the government shutdown as a “monumental failure.” In addition, they ridicule Christie for his expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Tea party conservatives are the most likely to be fired up for the primary, but they have also been outright anti-Christie.
Yet on a national scale, Christie’s moderateness is what could lead him to a victory. At a time where a majority of the American population is frustrated with the increasing polarization of our two political parties, a moderate candidate could sweep the presidential nominee. The Washington Post’s Ryan Cooper puts this perfectly, saying, “The irony is that Christie’s major strength as a Republican who has won n a blue state is also his biggest weakness among the base.” Interestingly enough, even ‘radicals’ of the Republican Party such as libertarian Ron Paul have acknowledged a need for more moderates within the Republican Party.
News organizations have already begun to poll voters on a plausible 2016 competition—Chris Christie versus Hilary Clinton—but maybe, before we get ahead of ourselves, we should just wait and see if Christie ends up running at all.
*Considering all of the recent press about Christie’s weight this week, especially the Time Magazine cover, definitely pun-intended