Reacting quietly to Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s weekend entrance into the GOP Presidential Primary, New Jersey Republicans worried that Perry could beat former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney and create the potential for President Barack Obama to win re-election against a too conservative candidate from the Lone Star State.
There were two reactions among mainstream Gov. Chris Christie Republicans here, who all spoke on condition of anonymity and concluded that the nominee has to either be Romney or Gov. Chris Christie.
Otherwise, the GOP is sunk, they said.
Considering the fact that Christie has said repeatedly he won’t run, that leaves only the former option, but sources still want the Republican governor to change his mind.
“If Bachmann wins, we will get so hosed it’s not even funny,” said a prominent Republican. “It’s too soon to tell with Perry, but if he actually said some of the things I’m reading he said, like seceding from the union, then forget it. Romney is a viable moderate candidate but he’s got some baggage campaigning for the last five years. Of those who have announced, in my opinion, he is the only person who has a viable chance but I still would like to see a successful Draft Christie movement. Seriously. I know he doesn’t want to do it but I believe the effort has to be much more concerted.”
Another source said Perry won’t get any substantial traction here – at least not from those in elected office.
“I believe New Jersey moderates and liberals have had their full of Texans,” said the source. “Nevertheless, if the economy keeps going in the way it has.. it won’t matter much. However, I have heard some Republicans say that Obama is going to be difficult if not impossible to beat in New Jersey next year. I’ve heard that in Bergen and a few other places. The problem is most of the GOP leadership in New Jersey is not conservative. They see Romney as the best hope because that’s who they would vote for.”
Democrats, meanwhile, gleefully embraced the prospect of a Perry nomination.
A mass email from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) featured a cutout from the Boston Herald’s front page with Perry’s picture on it juxtaposed with a gloomy Romney.
The title of the email was “What Romney is waking up to.”
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a prominent Democrat told PolitickerNJ.com, “The Bushes hate Perry……Romney is the Republicans’ only shot.”
But Michael Czin, spokesman for the DNC, said he’s happy to take on all comers.
“All the Republican presidential candidates want to double down on the failed policies that brought us to the brink of a second great depression,” said Czin. “Republicans in New Jersey have a right to be worried, because all of their candidates are out of touch with middle class Americas. Just like Washington Republicans and the Tea Party, the Republican presidential 2012 candidates want to lavish Big Oil and the super wealthy with tax breaks while ending Medicare, gutting education funding and privatizing Social Security. That’s not a platform to run on – that’s a platform to run from.”