Now that the Republican National Convention is over, many are analyzing the Florida event and looking forward to the Democratic National Convention next week in North Carolina. PolitickerNJ Editor Darryl Isherwood shared his thoughts about the RNC, including Gov. Chris Christie’s keynote address, and what he thinks the reaction means for the upcoming DNC with NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider.
Isherwood said Christie did a good — not great — job on his keynote address. “What I found interesting this week is if you look at the different sides, one side’s trashing him, one side’s saying it’s the greatest speech they ever heard,” he said. “I think somewhere in the middle is the truth.”
He said Christie is a much better speaker when he doesn’t have a script. “He’s an absolute master at the off the cuff speaking style — the town hall, the Q&A,” Isherwood said. “When it comes to a scripted speech, he’s not quite as good.”
But because Christie got to deliver the keynote address, the New Jersey delegates had a much more prominent role at the RNC than they have in the past. Isherwood said they likely felt more pride than in other years. He also said the experience at the RNC will strengthen the party in the Garden State.
“I think the New Jersey Republicans will live and die with Chris Christie these days. He’s a national figure. He’s got that juice. He was very, very popular down there,” Isherwood said. “He spoke to half a dozen delegations from all over the country.”
That being said, Isherwood doesn’t think the happenings in Florida will sway New Jersey voters to choose Mitt Romney over Barack Obama. “I think you’re still going to see a pretty wide margin for Obama,” he said. “I think one of the polls I saw that even if Chris Christie were the vice presidential candidate it didn’t really change the margin of victory for Obama.”
He said there probably wouldn’t be momentum from the RNC for other races either, including the race between Republican Joe Kyrillos and incumbent Democrat Robert Menendez. “I don’t know if you’ll see any coattails this year,” Isherwood said. “I mean certainly you would if Christie were on the ticket, but I don’t know that that’s necessarily going to help a Joe Kyrillos in November when there aren’t many competitive races on that ticket and he’s an underdog in that race.”
Some have said New Jersey Democrats are worried about their convention next week because of all the attention placed on the state at the RNC. Isherwood said Newark Mayor Cory Booker will be giving the platform speech and will get a lot of attention at the DNC. “He’s down there with not quite as prominent a role as the governor, but a prominent role nonetheless,” he said.
When asked if he would be worried if he were a Democrat heading to the convention, Isherwood said, “I think a little bit but from what I understand, the Democratic view of Mitt Romney is he’s just not as good a candidate as there have been certainly in the past.”