Chris Christie's Failure Shows Just How Popular He Is
New Jersey voters continue to hate Republicans, but they love Christie
Former New Jersey governor Tom Kean is apparently pretty annoyed with Chris Christie, partly for personal reasons and partly because Christie failed to help any other Republicans get elected to the state legislature. Dave Weigel:
The full failure of Christie's "coattails" campaign is only now being known. Christie had wanted to win the state senate, cutting ads and campaigning for key candidates. None of his challengers unseated any Democrats. The total Republican gain in the Assembly appears to be... one. That's better than 2011, when Democrats gained a seat, but even if you factor in the gerrymander that protects Democrats, Kean and other Republicans are amazed that Christie could win by 21 points and carry almost nobody along with him.
OK, but isn't there another way of looking at this? It shows just how popular Christie is personally even in a state that shows no sign whatsoever of warming up to Republicans in general. That's fairly remarkable.
I'll admit this a slatepitchy kind of argument to make, and I don't know if I really even believe it. Weigel is certainly right that this leaves Christie in the unenviable position of having to scrape and compromise with Democrats for the next few years, something that's unlikely to help his presidential ambitions much. If his compromises succeed, he's a sellout. If they fail, he's a guy who can't get anything done. That kind of sucks.
Still! His personal brand is obviously pretty sky high. That has to count for something.