Christie’s Effect Felt from Florida to Maine and Across the Electoral Map

By David Cruz

The face of last night’s Republican gubernatorial victories was all over the morning chat shows today. Chris Christie was downplaying his role in yesterday’s big victories, which was pretty easy because it was just so obvious.

“How much credit do you personally deserve for the success of these Republican governors across the country?” asked NBC’s Matt Lauer, to which the governor replied, “The candidates deserve the credit. It’s always about the candidates. The candidates deserve the credit. As RGA [Republican Governors Association] president, here’s what you do. You raise money and you raise awareness.”

And by almost any measure, it was a formula that worked. In close races, like Wisconsin, Florida and Maine, routs in Iowa, Nevada, Michigan, Kansas and New Mexico and even in blue states like Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts.

Republicans won governors’ seats and Christie was a huge presence in almost all of them. He broke fundraising records as RGA chairman, raising over $100 million and keeping a travel schedule that was downright presidential, which put him in position today to comment on just what it all meant. As he’s done before, Christie pointed a damning finger at the president.

“[Obama’s] lack of leadership abroad, his lack of leadership at home. And that’s what it’s a reflection of more than anything else,” he said on Fox & Friends. “I’ll tell you, the biggest emotion I saw out there was anxiety. I had one woman in Florida say to me, ‘Governor, what’s happened to our country? We used to control events, now events control us.’”

Last November, he won his own election by over 20 points but didn’t have coattails enough to elect one state senator. There was talk then that he was maybe a bit of a paper lion when it came to having an impact within the party, but this morning the questions about a Christie presidential run were unavoidable. When asked about his timetable for deciding on a run, Christie told CNN, “Some time next year; there’s no rush in making this kind of decision and I think there’s no reason to rush a decision as important as this. I’ve said all along, there’s three questions I’ll ask myself: is it right for me? Is it right for my family? And is it right for my country? And if I don’t answer yes to all three, I won’t run.”

The governor has said that his extensive travels for the RGA would give him some idea of what it could be like to run for president. His voice was almost gone by the end of the campaign and he kind of lost his temper last week, but ever the competitor, Christie would say, you can’t argue with results.