As expected, Republican Governor Chris Christie won reelection with ease earlier this week in New Jersey, handily beating Senator Barbara Bouno by 22 points and winning a majority in all but two of the state’s 21 counties.
Best known for working with President Obama to provide relief aid for his state after Hurricane Sandy, Christie’s popularity has remained high ever since. Now that the victory is behind him, talks have already turned to a possible bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination; however, Christie’s success in New Jersey represents more than just the future of his political career.
Often described as a moderate Republican, Christie routed his Democratic challenger in the same state that President Obama won last year by a similarly wide margin. With the exception of black voters, Christie was able to win clear majorities among almost every traditionally Democratic demographic. He won 51 percent of Latinos, 66 percent of independents, 57 percent of women, and a majority of voters between ages 25 and 29. His percentage of women voters is especially notable considering he was running against a woman.
The most striking feature of Christie’s success among these groups, however, is that he holds many traditional Republican views that opponents believe are responsible for the party’s alienation of voters today. Specifically, he is fiscally conservative, pro-life, and opposed to gay marriage. Critics of the Republicans often argue the party needs to drop its “outdated” agendas and move toward a more libertarian stance to appeal to more voters, yet Christie’s performance at the polls Tuesday indicates that the party’s conservative views do not have to come at the cost of liberal-leaning demographics.
Where his career goes from here remains to be seen, but his dominating re-election win is an encouraging sign to Republicans that they do not have to abandon their traditional views in order to be successful in the current era of American politics.