Republicans all but certain

PARSIPPANY – Some prominent Republicans in the room have dropped their guard a bit and have started to acknowledge that Chris Christie is all but the declared victor tonight.

Former Governors Tom Kean and Christie Whitman are walking around the press area and smiling, after seeing their party win its first statewide race since 1997.

“I think the state of New Jersey needed this change. I’m not so worried about the party as I am the state,” said Whitman, who was the last Republican to win statewide.

When asked why it has taken 12 years, Whitman said it’s “hard to say.”

“I’m probably more moderate than maybe some of the others that have come after me because of the process that they went through in the primary. I went through it, too, but I was able to stay more in the center. This is a centrist state.”

A reporter pointed out that Christie's ideology is pretty down-the-line conservative.

“Well, on some specific social issues, but you know what the most important social issue today? It’s the ability to support your family.”

Republicans all but certain