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Christie wins election, loses minimum wage battle

Glenn Townes | 11/13/2013, 2:19 p.m.
Chris Christie tells Tony Mack it's time to go

It was a split decision for Gov. Chris Christie—sort of. The corpulent governor handily won his bid for a second term as head of the Garden State by effectively trouncing his Democratic and virtual unknown opponent Barbara Buono in Tuesday’s election, but he fumbled in his fight to have a minimum wage hike rebuffed.

Christie garnered a whopping 60 percent of the vote—about 1.2 million votes—compared to Buono’s 38 percent (about 780,000). Christie nabbed the majority of Latino voters and about 20 percent of New Jersey’s African-Americans and a sizable number of state Democrats. His victory also marks the first time a Republican governor has won more than 50 percent of the vote statewide in a generation.

New Jersey voters approved a minimum wage hike for the state’s lowest paid workers. In January, the state minimum wage will increase by $1, from $7.25 to $8.25 per hour. Mandatory cost of living increases will automatically occur each September. Christie had repeatedly rejected efforts to immediately raise the minimum wage, suggesting the increases should be implemented over an extended period of time.

Polls leading up to the election consistently put Christie way ahead of his opponent. From the beginning, the Buono campaign was plagued with limited funds and little name recognition and was simply overwhelmed by the Republican’s limitless resources and enormous popularity across party lines. Christie was declared the winner by 8:01 p.m. by the Associated Press, as early election results from the 21 counties in New Jersey clearly showed the Republican way ahead of Buono.

During his victory speech on Tuesday evening at his campaign headquarters in the beach town of Asbury Park, Christie said he followed through on a promise he made to the state four years ago. “We said that we were going to go Trenton and turn it upside down, and we did,” he said. “I know if we can do this in Trenton, N.J., maybe the folks in Washington, D.C., should tune in to their TVs right now and see how it’s done!”

The big victory for Christie signals what many are anticipating as a run for the 2016 presidential bid. The governor has not indicated if he will run for president; however, speculation is rife throughout the GOP and international political circles that he is the most viable option for the beleaguered Republican Party.