By Philip Elliott
WASHINGTON: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Sunday offered his Republican Party a prescription to win: show up.
Christie, fresh off a 22-percentage point win for re-election, said the GOP must go into Hispanic and black communities, talk with seniors and campaign in traditionally Democratic-leaning areas. It’s what helped him become the first New Jersey Republican in 25 years to capture more than 50 percent of the vote.
It also has done nothing to tamp down chatter about a 2016 presidential bid, something many have encouraged.
“I know everybody is going to be speculating about what may come in my future and lots of other people’s future in our party. But the fact is, I am focused on being the governor of New Jersey and being the chairman of the Republican Governors Association,” Christie said on Fox News Sunday, one of the four television news shows he appeared on Sunday. “And I think those two jobs will keep me pretty busy over the next year.”
It’s the year after that dominates conversations among GOP operatives, donors and rivals.
Asked directly whether he would serve all four years of his second term, which starts in 2014, Christie hedged: “Listen, who knows? I don’t know.”
Republicans are searching for a candidate who is true to the party’s beliefs, can appeal to voters in swing-voting states and can help the party win the presidency for the first time since 2004.
Christie’s win on Tuesday made him an appealing option.
“I got 61 percent of the vote in the state of New Jersey in a blue state that had just re-elected Barack Obama a year ago by 17 points,” Christie said.
Exit polls say Christie carried one-third of Democrats and two-thirds of those who called themselves independents.