Republican governor of New Jersey Chris Christie easily won a second term Tuesday night, setting himself up as his party’s front-ranking contender for the White House in 2016.
Couple of states away, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, was elected governor of Virginia, securing a crucial swing state for Hillary Clinton, a close family friend, should she run in 2016.
And New York City made history electing a Democrat as its mayor after 20 years, Bill de Blasio, a colourful liberal who once supported the leftist Sandinistas of Nicaragua (see graphic).
The night, and the headlines, however, belonged to the tough-talking Christie, whose sharp tongue and struggles with his waistline have turned him into an international celebrity.
Christie was expected to win but the size of the victory — getting over 60% of the votes — made it historic, for a Republican to secure that many in a Democratic state.
For those who had trouble reading it right, he explained.
“I know that if we can do this in Trenton, New Jersey, maybe the folks in Washington should tune in their TVs right now and see how it’s done,” he said in his acceptance speech.
That was clearly aimed at those Republicans — tea partiers such as Senator Ted Cruz — whose ultra-conservatism is being blamed for much of the dysfunction in Washington DC.
The governor’s ability to reach across the aisle and work with political adversaries sets him apart from those like Cruz who have shown themselves rabidly averse to it.
Also, Christie’s win is being cited as a model for Republicans to follow to access African American and Hispanic communities that have stayed away so far.
McAuliffe’s win in Virginia, on the other hand, was significant for what it could mean for Clinton. Both she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, campaigned for him. If she runs, having a close friend in charge of a crucial swing state such as Virginia would be a great help tactically.