He has no problem telling sunbathers in New Jersey to “get the hell off the beach” during impending hurricanes, or vetoing a film tax credit for the “Jersey Shore,” the popular TV show he thinks damages the Garden State’s rep.
So with that, Gov. Chris Christie certainly has the tough-talking attitude to make a name for himself, political observers told amNewYork on Wednesday, but they’re not so sure he can win over GOP voters nationwide if he runs for the party’s nomination.
Wealthy Republican donors seem to think otherwise, and are courting Christie, 49, to enter the race as some of the candidates lose steam. The first-term governor has been less definitive these days about whether he’s ready to run. He even sounded like a nominee Tuesday by attacking President Barack Obama at a forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
“New Jersey has a great history of leaders, but Chris Christie ain’t one of them,” said Democratic strategist Joshua Henne. “Once folks look past the bluster and the stage-managed sound bites, they’ll see how he’s attacked the middle-class.”
However, Hunter College political science professor Jamie Chandler said it’s that outspokenness that would help him with Republican voters.
“People like [Texas Gov.] Rick Perry because he’s like that,” Chandler said.
Still, political ideologies differ from state to state, he added, and Christie’s more moderate views wouldn’t help him in conservative red states.
“In 2008, Democrats won typically Republican states, but 2010 kind of killed that,” Chandler said. “Those districts that went moderate Democrat went much further to the right Republican.”
Matt Mackowiak, a Republican strategist who worked on the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign, said the South and West are still the cultural heart of the party – but not being from there wouldn’t necessarily derail one’s presidential aspirations.
“Christie’s problem is time,” Mackowiak said. “Even if he announces now, it would take seven weeks to do his first fundraiser. And if some states end up moving up their primaries, that’s even less time to establish yourself.”