Governor Christie this week spent time in Missouri, Washington DC, and New York. This morning he visited Cedar Grove before leaving this afternoon to Boston. Nonetheless, that did not stop him from saying at the “Town Hall,” “I prioritize my day job.”
Christie today was visiting a Republican town which is not representative of the county as a whole. Cory Booker won re-election to his U. S. Senate seat in Essex County by 106,472 to 29,527 votes, but lost in Cedar Grove to Republican Jeff Bell 1,339 to 1,671. Likewise in the congressional race Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen won 1,883 to Mark Dunec at 996. The event was held at the Essex County Police Academy, a place which might be intimidating to some. (Given Christie’s NJ polling data he might be planning a future forum at the Trenton State Police headquarters.)
Upon entering the academy campus attendees were greeted by members of NJ Working Families holding posters protesting fare hikes and route eliminations. Carl from East Orange explained the bus hikes “affect the littlest people who can least afford them and can’t do much to prevent them.” Craig from Princeton was concerned that there was a proposal to end the 655 bus which takes staff and low income patients to the hospital.
Inside the facility set up for 200 people, I sat next to a woman on the left side who explained to me that “Democrats don’t follow the ten commandments,” and “Republicans are denying Jesus’ teachings to feed and care for the poor.” She is a retired teacher who voted for Christie the first time but decided not to vote for either candidate in the last election. The person on my right overheard the conversation and said I was a “proselytizing leftie.” The person in front was a friend of Blue Jersey who raised a small poster in protest – against Christie’s pen/ben plan.
Shortly before the event began local dignitaries went behind the rear curtain to greet the governor. After a couple of minutes they came back to their seats except for Democrat County Executive Joe DiVincenzo. He spent more time with Christie and then came out to introduce the governor calling him “my good friend.”
Hah! You went beyond the fold thinking there was more. Not really. It was like watching a rerun of a TV show you have already seen several times. He spent about 40 minutes in his speech repeating his justification for his pen/ben proposals. Then he berated Democratic leadership for joining with the unions in their lawsuit now before the Supreme Court. There were no confrontational moments and the questions were often preceded by compliments to the governor. At one point he did make a curious statement not in reference to himself, “I understand politicians sometimes have to say something for certain constituents.” For more details, go here. I guess I am a glutton for punishment and boredom.