Christie Visits Union City Day After Reelection Victory

By Michael Aron
Chief Political Correspondent

On the day after his big victory, Gov. Chris Christie visited with students at a public high school for ninth-graders in Union City. The town is sometimes called Little Havana for all the Cubans who once migrated here.

Christie is a strong ally of the Democratic mayor here, Brian Stack, and explained why he came here today.

“Monday night and the rally we had here Monday night was truly the highlight of the campaign for me and Mary Pat,” Christie said. “So many different ethnicities, so many different religious backgrounds.”

Four years ago, Christie’s first stop after victory was a largely African-American charter school in Newark. In a wide-ranging, 45-minute press conference today, he talked about Latino voters, saying they want the same things everybody does and politicians need to spend time, show up.

“You want to make inroads into a community, you gotta get there and work it. Look what happened last night. I didn’t have any kind of significant Latino support in 2009. We won the Latino vote last night,” Christie said. “Of all the things that happened last night, that’s the thing I’m most gratified about, to be able to actually win the Latino vote in this state.”

The national media here tried all sorts of clever ways to get Christie to talk about running for president. The governor parried the questions just as cleverly.

“The way it won’t be a distraction is that I simply won’t let it,” Christie said.

The speculation, he said, is good for New Jersey. It means he’s governing well.

“I’ve said before, I don’t see it as a burden, either. You have to have a huge ego to — ‘Oh, geez, it’s such a burden,’ Christie said.

But isn’t it annoying, being asked so much?

“Not annoying. It’s an indication from at least the person who asks the question that they think you’re doing well enough that you might be worthy of consideration for the most important leadership job in this country. If you’re burdened by that, get out of the business,” Christie said.

Christie seemed unfazed that his big win did not translate into coattails for Republican legislative candidates.

“People have made a decision. In New Jersey, they’ve decided they want divided government,” Christie said.

He blamed a gerrymandered legislative map and a 4 or 5-to-1 spending disadvantage.

Tomorrow he said he and Senate President Steve Sweeney will sit down privately at the Statehouse to map out an agenda for the lame duck session and the new session in January.