|Christie Scores Decisive Re-Election Victory in New Jersey|
|By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone) and SHUSHANNAH WALSHE (@shushwalshe)||Nov 5, 2013, 4:20 PM|
New Jersey voters handed Gov. Chris Christie a decisive win in Tuesday's gubernatorial race, setting the stage not only for Christie's second term, but possibly for a 2016 presidential bid.
As polls closed in the Garden State, the Associated Press projected that Christie, the hard-charging Republican governor who took office in 2010 and has become one of his party's brightest stars, has defeated his lesser-known Democratic opponent, state Sen. Barbara Buono.
"We stand here tonight showing it is possible to both do your job first. To work together first. To fight for what you believe in, but still stand by your principals and get something done for the people who elected you," Christie said in a victory speech in the shore town of Asbury Park.
"Now listen, I know that if we can do this in Trenton, N.J., maybe the folks in Washington, D.C. should tune into their TVs right now. See how it's done," he added.
Election Day marked the conclusion of Christie's 46-stop bus tour around the state.
At one of his final stops a supporter suggested that he bring "some New Jersey attitude" to the White House." But Christie was coy, telling ABC News, "I like my New Jersey attitude right here."
"We still fight, we still yell, but when we fight we fight for those things that really matter," Christie said tonight, clearly referring to the constant bickering in Washington. "While we may not always agree, we show up. We don't just show up in the places where we are comfortable we show up in the places we are uncomfortable."
Christie's victory was never in doubt. Throughout the campaign, polls showed Christie with a double-digit lead over Buono.
"I will not let anyone, anything, any political party, any governmental entity or any force get in the way of the completion of my mission," Christie said, referring to continuing to rebuild after last year's Hurricane Sandy.
"I sought a second term to get things done, now watch me do it," he added.
And it was no accident that Christie, 51, spent part of his final full day of the race delivering an appeal to Hispanic voters while campaigning alongside New Mexico's Susana Martinez, a fellow GOP governor.
"It's important to the future of our country," Christie said Monday. "We've got to bring people together."
Christie is looking to show that he can bridge gaps with Hispanics, women and independents -- groups that have stymied other Republican candidates' hopes for national office, including the party's 2012 presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.
Tuesday night's exit poll results included some encouraging numbers for him: Christie surpassed his Democratic opponent in support among men, women, political independents and remained competitive among Hispanics.
But preliminary exit poll results put Christie slightly behind Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical matchup for 2016
Earlier this week Christie deflected questions about his potential presidential ambitions.
"I've got to govern this state," Christie said. "Whatever the future brings it will bring. But first things first here."
ABC News' Gary Langer contributed reporting.