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Christie Makes Inroads Into Hudson, Picking Up Endorsement From Harrison Mayor

1-31-13

By David Cruz
NJ Today

Gov. Chris Christie traveled to Hudson County this morning to pick up an endorsement from a small town mayor, but the governor’s betting that a lot of smaller endorsements are just as good as one big one.

It’s not the size of the town that counts, it’s the size of Mayor Raymond McDonough’s commitment, and that was the case this morning when the mayor of Hudson’s third smallest city — Harrison — came next door to Hudson’s smallest city, East Newark, to announce that he and his entire Democratic town council were supporting Christie for governor.

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“I’m a Democrat from Hudson County,” declared McDonough. “I’ve been on the council for 35 years and mayor for 19 years but I honestly believe in my heart that the best thing for New Jersey is to have Chris Christie reelected as governor.”

Picking off a Democrat in predominately Democratic Hudson County plays right into the governor’s message that he’s a bipartisan kind of guy, but that alone is not a strategy for victory, says Christie.

“We’re going to go into each and every county, like we did four years ago, and we’re going to make our case,” said the governor. “Some people are going to like it and some people won’t, and there’ll be someone else on the ballot to vote for if they don’t like it.”

In his first race three years ago, Christie was strategic when it came to Democratic strongholds like Hudson and Essex counties. While he lost both counties in 2009, he kept the size of those defeats down, while winning big among Republicans. But the governor says he’s under no illusion that he’s going to romp all over presumptive challenger — Barbara Buono.

“I’ve told [voters] the truth about the problems we would face and given them a vision for the future,” he said. “If we’re able to do that, then I think the election will go the right way.”

McDonough and the rest of the council endorsed Jon Corzine in 2009, giving him 69 percent of the vote. The endorsement by the popular incumbent mayor could go a long way toward reversing that for Christie this time around.

With a population of just under 2,500, East Newark is Hudson County’s smallest town. Still the governor made the trip all the way from Trenton, demonstrating that the best way to eat an elephant is one small bit at a time.