After stomping his Democratic challenger in a 22.5 point landslide victory, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took the podium with his family at his side for his acceptance speech in Asbury Park.
It came off more like a 2016 entrance speech, though.
“The only greatest honor and privilege than being a one-term governor of New Jersey is to be a two-term governor of New Jersey,” Christie gushed as he celebrated the easily predicted win, noting that his challenger, state Sen. Barbara Buono, was “very gracious in her congratulations.”
“The people of New Jersey four years ago were downhearted and dispirited. They didn’t believe that government could work for them anymore. In fact, what they thought — what they thought was that government was just there to take from them but not to give to them. Not to work with them. Not to work for them. Well, four years later, we stand here tonight showing that it is possible to put doing your job first, to put working together first, to fight for what you believe in yet still stand by your principles and get something done for the people who elected you,” he said.
“The biggest thing, the biggest thing I’ve learned over the last four years about leadership is that leadership is much less about talking than it is about listening, about bringing people around the table, listening to each other, showing them respect, doing what needed to be done to be able to bring people together and to achieve what we needed to achieve to move our state forward. Now, listen, I know that if we can do this in Trenton, New Jersey, maybe the folks in Washington, D.C. should tune in their TVs right now, see how it’s done.”
Christie then segued into comments about bipartisanship and leadership.
“While we may not always agree, we show up. We show up everywhere. We don’t show up just in the places that vote for us a lot, we show up in the place that vote for us a little. We don’t just show up in the places where we’re comfortable, we show up in the places where we’re uncomfortable. Because when you lead, you need to be there. You need to show up. You need to listen. And then you need to act,” he said.
“And you don’t just show up six months before an election. You show up four years before one. And you don’t just take no for an answer the first time no has happened. You keep going back and trying more. Because when I was elected four years ago, I wasn’t elected just by the people who voted for me. I was the governor of all the people. And tonight, overwhelmingly those people have said, come onboard, it’s fine here. Let’s have more people support the governor. And now, we have a big, big win tonight.”
The governor added that “what people have told me over the last four years is more than anything else, they want the truth.”
“Some folks don’t agree with some of the things I do, and certainly they don’t agree with some of the things I say sometimes,” he continued. “They know they never have to wonder. They never have to wonder. When they walked into the voting booth today, they didn’t say, ‘Hey, I wonder who this guy is and what he stands for, what he’s willing to fight for, what he’s willing to do when the chips are down.’”
Christie said Hurricane Sandy turned his job into a “mission.”
“And that mission, that mission is to make sure that everyone, everyone in New Jersey who’s affected by Sandy is returned to normalcy in their life. And I want to promise you tonight, I will not let anyone, anything, any political party, any governmental entity, or any force get in between me and the completion of my mission.”
In telling the story of the past year of recovery, Christie said: “I’ve had a lot of people ask me for hugs.” That’s when a handful of audience members shouted that they wanted their hugs.
“You’ll get your hug later, brother. And I can tell you this. I guess there is open bar tonight, huh?”
Christie’s hug buddy after Sandy, though, left him off a list of congratulatory phone calls. The White House said President Obama called Virginia Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe, New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, and Boston Mayor-elect Martin Walsh to hail their victories.
“I know that tonight a dispirited America, angry with their dysfunctional government in Washington, looks to New Jersey to say, ‘Is what I think happening really happening? Are people really coming together? Are we really working, African-Americans and Hispanics, suburbanites and city dwellers, farmers and teachers? Are we really all working together?’ Let me give the answer to everyone who is watching tonight. Under this government, our first job is to get the job done. And as long as I’m governor, that job will always, always be finished.”