By David Cruz
So what does New Jersey’s new Democratic senator do on the day after his big election victory? He hugs it out with the Republican governor. Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Senator-elect Cory Booker were all smiles at another groundbreaking, this one for a new development with a ShopRite as the anchor in the city’s central ward.
“The mayor in his remarks mentioned my being a fan of the Cowboys and his being a fan of the Giants,” joked Christie. “That is true. I’m happy for the mayor today, with his victory last night. It was the first win the Giants have gotten all year.”
The governor said he and Booker have been friends for a decade now and that it’s more than a marriage of convenience. We asked if his being with the senator-elect on the day after Booker’s victory was a case of fortuitous timing or political genius.
“No,” he said. “We’ve been working on this project for a while. The EDA got done with it and approved it at the last meeting, so this was the first chance we got to do it.”
This relationship changes now. Where Booker was once dependent on Christie for financial help for Newark, now Christie will be counting on Booker to bring home the bacon.
“We watch what’s going on in Washington and the vicious partisanship, people thinking government should shut down, the gridlock, the brinksmanship. It’s ridiculous,” said Booker. “What can happen in America when people put partisanship aside and roll up their sleeves and work together is that the impossible becomes possible.”
If Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono was disappointed about all the Booker/Christie “Gov. love,” she wasn’t showing it last night.
“He’s the governor at this point in time, and so obviously our mayors have to work with him and I think that’s how democracy works,” she said. “I have no problem with that whatsoever.”
The governor’s unprecedented inroads into democratic strongholds like Essex County have borne fruit in the polls, and wittingly or otherwise Booker has been a big help.
The governor says his relationship with Booker will only get stronger now. It’s his job to extract from me, he said, and my job to extract from him.