New Jersey Governor Chris Christie easily won a second term. He ran against Democratic State Senator Barbara Buono who, in the primary election in June, was chosen over one opponent (former NBA player Troy Webster, now an aide to the East Orange mayor Robert Bowser) to be the Democratic nominee for governor. Buono defeated Webster 88 percent to 12 percent. Looking good, right?
But although New Jersey is historically a Democratic state, her campaign struggled to gain traction. Some say no Democrat could have beaten the popular incumbent, who effectively linked himself to NJ’s recovery from Sandy. Some say her resemblance to Nancy Pelosi fired up the Republican base. Some blamed her choice of wardrobe for her million-dollar TV campaign ad. (Faded blue jeans and a black leather jacket? The Springsteen fan theme was already owned by the other guy.) But most would probably blame her naïveté, which in other places gets called hope: the day before the election she told David Weigel at Slate the people of New Jersey “are going to make up (sic) their own decision on the issues. They’re going to make up their own mind based on the fact that there’s 400,000 people out of work, that the middle class has shrunk, that you know, people are living on a minimum wage that’s—it’s a starvation wage—and they can’t make ends meet, and they’re still living in poverty. Those are the people who are going to be going to the polls, that are paying attention to this governor’s failed economic policies, that have put New Jersey’s job growth in the bottom of the barrel.”