Storm Smashes Chris Christie's Presidential Candidacy
If New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has any chance of gaining traction in his bid to become the 2016 Republican candidate for president he has to maintain support in suburban communities like East Greenwich Township, a small, predominately white, upper middle income area located about fifty miles south of Trenton, NJ’s capital city.
Republican Christie received 71.5 percent of the votes in East Greenwich Township when he won a landslide reelection in 2013, up nearly twenty points from his 2009 victory margin in that community where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans.
Today however, the most likely thing Christie would get from East Greenwich Township is a chorus of boos and a mass wave of middle fingers because he was notably MIA (Missing In Action) during the aftermath of a recent storm that tore through large sections of southern New Jersey. The 85 mph winds in that storm sent trees crashing into houses and cut electric service to tens of thousands of homes and small businesses for days.
Residents of East Greenwich Township and other Gloucester County communities pummeled by that storm are fuming because Christie, a self-proclaimed Hands-On Manager, ignored their pleas for help. Residents across sections of four South Jersey counties hit hard by that powerful storm are bitter that their state’s governor campaigned heavily during past weeks in Iowa and New Hampshire but couldn’t find time to at least tour their storm ravaged communities.
Dale Archer, the Republican mayor of East Greenwich Township, told reporters that, “I have lost all respect for our governor. Most importantly…he’s lost my vote.”
The mayor of adjacent Greenwich Township, George Shivery, told reporters that he called Christie’s office twice pleading for help for his town after the storm but the only response he received was an email asking for a contribution to Christie’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.
“I have been a supporter [of Christie] from day one,” said Russell Johnson, the Republican mayor of Pittman, another small Gloucester County town ravaged by the storm. Like those Greenwich communities, Christie won big in Pittman during his 2013 reelection but today Mayor Johnson said Christie “has lost my support.”
While late night talk show hosts constantly make fat-jokes about Christie, growing numbers of New Jersey residents are seeing their governor as a fraud more focused on his presidential agenda than in effectively administering his state where residents are moving out due to high property taxes and low job growth. New Jersey has led the nation in outward migration for four of the past five years.