A while back I wrote a lightly controversial piece that argued certain GOP candidates should drop out of Presidential consideration and focus on statewide races in their home states instead. Some folks didn’t appreciate my decision to tell their favorite candidate to drop out, but I didn’t write the piece out of malice; no, I wrote it from a place of hope.
We have several candidates running who will definitely attract voters from certain constituencies. They are good politicians, good men and a few of them are very much “Presidential material.” However, for one reason or another, they are far more likely to do well “at home” than they are in a national election.
The best example I could give is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who won his reelection campaign with 60% of the vote. (In New Jersey such numbers for a Republican are unheard of.) Christie is currently the only Republican in the entire Garden State with a reasonable chance of winning the Senate seat in 2018, and he doesn’t really have any chance of winning the GOP nomination for 2016. For the GOP, for New Jersey, and for America, it would be better for Christie to end his Presidential aspirations (for now) and focus on winning that Senate seat in 2018.
In fact, he could get a shot at the seat even earlier, now that Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has been indicted on federal charges of corruption. If Menendez is forced to step down, New Jersey will hold a special election to replace him, and Christie would be far and away the favorite.
On Thursday David Benkof of the Daily Caller published an article arguing much the same thing.
If Christie were to announce his candidacy for Menendez’s Senate seat, which comes up in 2018 but would be open sooner if the senator resigns, he would be an immediate favorite. His in-your-face Joizy style, first made popular inYouTube videos showing him confronting teachers union lackeys, will start to play well again when New Jersey voters see he’s curtailed his national aspirations to focus on serving them.
Christie’s second term as governor ends in January 2018, which is perfect timing for a Senate race. It means he can continue demonstrating his passion for government service and his leadership skills for a few more years, while still having 10 months to campaign without the distractions of a “day job.”
Oh, and all the funds he raised as a presidential candidate will be available to him in a Senate race.
The basic point is this. Chris Christie will not be nominated by the GOP for the position of President, it’s just not gonna happen. But Christie can still have a huge impact on our national politics if he chooses to run for the Senate. If he can convince New Jersey to send a Republican to the Senate, it will be a major victory for right-leaning policies.
By the way, it’s not just Chris Christie that this kind of thing makes sense for. There are a handful of other candidates who may better serve the GOP and America by sticking to state seats for now. In particular, I’m thinking of Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jeb Bush (R-FL), Rick Snyder (R-MI), John Kasich (R-OH), Rob Portman (R-OH), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and yes, even Scott Walker (R-WI).
Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, John Kasich and Rick Snyder fall into this category for me. Again, I wouldn’t dismiss any of them out of hand, and I personally am intrigued by Scott Walker’s candidacy in particular, but I think they could do our country more good from home.
These men come from Florida, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan respectively, and all have won reelection in difficult states. In fact, Florida is the most GOP friendly of the 5 states, and it routinely ends up 50-50 in Presidential races. If these men would all choose to run for Congress instead of President, we could make the legislative map much more difficult for the Democrats.
Chris Christie could feasibly be the next Senator from New Jersey. Scott Walker has already won 3 statewide elections as Governor – can you imagine if both Senators from Wisconsin were Republican? In Ohio and Michigan the Republican Governors there both recently won reelection to office and could be great helps for the eventual Presidential candidate in their home states. Both men could also run for Senate in the next few years as well. Jeb Bush may have the most clout of all – in Florida he remains pretty popular and could feasibly win any election he ran for in the state.
My point is that these five men in particular are popular Republicans in difficult states. If anyone could win these races for the GOP it would be these men, and we may better off as a nation with them challenging for these seats instead of vying for the White House.
Consider this… how dominant would our position in Congress be if we had a Senator from New Jersey, two from Wisconsin, two from Ohio, two from Florida and one from Michigan? If the legislature looked like that in the near future, it would likely mean that the rest of Congress was also turning a deep red. These are the kind of candidates we need to be running in tough races.
I hope that with the recent Menendez corruption charges that Governor Christie is giving serious thought to dropping out of the Presidential race and setting his sites on that Senate seat. Senator Christie sure sounds nice.