On Friday a friend of mine invited me to a Chris Christie rally in North Bergen, New Jersey. This was an impromptu invitation and as such I had only my cell phone to take notes and pictures with.
From what I gathered several organizations had a hand in the event [Spanish for Christie, Democrats for Christie, Hudson County Republican Party, etc] so I am unsure who was taking the lead. The crowd however 300+ was clearly dominated by Hispanics. There were blacks as well [about 10 including myself].
I was surprised to have meet two people from the blogosphere. First, was a gentleman by the name of Tim Howes who was the very first follower of Another Black Conservative. The second person I met was the owner of Hip Hop Republican blog Richard Ivory. Other known faces at the rally were former Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler and Hoboken mayoral candidate Nathan Brinkman.
The thing that struck me most about the crowd was the enthusiasm. Gone were the glum and dower Republicans of 2008 that had to hold their noses about John McCain and resign themselves to defeat. These folks were upbeat and looking forward to kicking out the old and ushering in the new on all levels of government. After talk of the gubernatorial race, NY-23 was the second hot topic. Many were following the Hoffman campaign.
When Christie arrived he arrived with much fanfare and applause. The crowd likes this guy. Christie was not alone. In tow was former New York Yankee Al Leiter, Vince Curatola who plays Johnny Sack from the Sopranos and the only RINO I would vote for former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Each person in turn gave a little stump speech including Schundler and Brinkman. When Christie spoke I was surprised at how much of a regular guy he comes off as. This was the first time I have heard him give his stump speech. While he common man touch doesn’t have the universal connection of Sarah Palin, anyone from New York City or New Jersey will immediately identify with Christie.
As most of you know, I am somewhat lukewarm about Christie. Even during the stump speech as he talked about cutting taxes and shrinking government, I still wasn’t 100% convinced. What Chrisite did win me over with was his understanding of the problems facing New Jersey. He identified Corzine’s shortcomings and the effect of Corzine’s tax and spend policies. Christie, as a father raising children in New Jersey, clearly sees where all this irresponsible spending is headed. That was very reassuring to hear. In the end, I feel more comfortable casting my vote for him.
Will Christie end up being the hardcore tax cuter and government shrinker New Jersey desperately needs? I don’t know. What I do know is that he won’t be a Corzine Lite.
Right now the race stands at 50/50 chance. I think I am going to give Christie the edge. The crowd is itching to get to the polls. They want to oust Corzine in the worst way. That sort of enthusiasm is exactly what is needed on Election Day. Corzine may have the union machine backing him to help with GOTV, but Christie clearly has the more enthusiastic voters. These folks are headed to the polls come hell or high water and that may make all the difference.