Chris Christie tonight delivered for the New Jersey GOP a governorship – the first time a Republican has won a statewide race in New Jersey in a dozen years – and by a margin greater than even most Republicans expected.
Once he is sworn in January, Christie will become the state’s 55th governor.
By the time he started his victory speech, unofficial results showed a Christie victory of 106,000 over Corzine.
Independent Christopher Daggett, up to 20% in one October poll, fell back to earth on Election Day, getting in the low single digits.
When the Bruce Springsteen cover band stopped playing for a few minutes to show footage of Daggett’s concession speech with audio, the crowd gave off an intense boo.
Christie was introduced by Lieutenant Governor-Elect Kim Guadagno, who said “Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, we are going to see change.
“There is hope for real change. There is hope for lowering taxes. There is hope for smaller government. There is hope for new jobs in New Jersey.”
Christie took to the podium and gave a simple salutation to the boisterous, shoulder-to-shoulder crowd of GOP faithful who had to wait over a decade for this moment.
“Hey, New Jersey – we did it,” he said.
Christie received Gov. Corzine’s concession call at about 10:40.
“Listen, the Governor’s call was gracious. I thanked him for his years of service to the state. He pledged a smooth transition to the new Christie-Guadagno administration,’ he said.
Nevertheless, Christie excoriated Corzine for running an intensely personal negative campaign against him, and said that his victory should send pundits and candidates the message that negative campaigns don’t work.
“I’ve worked too hard over my life to give away my integrity for any job,” he said. “Through their overwhelming support tonight, the people of New Jersey said no more negative personal campaign… We faced a $30 million onslaught that consisted almost exclusively of a negative personal campaign against me, my family and my friends – the people of New Jersey decided enough is enough.”
Christie called for “a new era of optimism in New Jersey.”
“The campaign we just went through seemed easy compared to the tasks that lie ahead of us to fix our state,” he said. “There are no easy answers to these difficult problems.
Criticized for his lack of specifics on how he will enact his broadly worded plans to cut taxes, spending and restore property tax rebates, Christie did not get any more specific tonight. Instead, he took the fight to critics who doubted his qualifications to become U.S. Attorney when he was first appointed by former President George W. Bush.
“These are the same people who said eight years ago, when I became U.S. attorney, that you couldn’t fight corruption in New Jersey. Well they were wrong then, and they are wrong now.”