Christie, Corzine Win New Jersey Governor Primaries


christie-corzineModerate Christopher J. Christie walked to victory in the Republican gubernatorial primary today, fending off challenges from two more conservative rivals and setting up a long-anticipated November matchup with the unpopular incumbent Democrat. Ultraconservative Republican Steve Lonegan conceded the race just before 10 p.m. “The message unfortunately was not clear enough, and I take responsibility for that,” Lonegan said. “The voters have spoken.”Gov. Jon S. Corzine, who glided to victory in the Democratic primary after facing only token competition, officially kicked off his re-election campaign with Vice President Joseph Biden in West Orange.

“Barack Obama and Joe Biden are committed to Jon Corzine’s re-election. Period. End of sentence,” Biden said just after polls closed at 8 p.m. “We need Jon Corzine at the helm.”

Corzine accepted his party’s nomination for a second term.

“Being governor of New Jersey is the highest honor of my life,” Corzine said. “Serving the people is my highest calling.”

Corzine, 62, could face a tough re-election bid. A series of polls has shown him trailing Christie, a former U.S. attorney under former President George W. Bush.

Christie was enthusiastically backed by the state’s Republican establishment, receiving virtually every county GOP endorsement. He is widely viewed within the party as the only candidate with a shot at recapturing the governor’s office, which no Republican has done since 1997.

Even before the primary polls closed Tuesday night, Christie’s daughter, Sarah, 13, was ready to proclaim her dad the nominee, holding a homemade posterboard sign that read: “CJC = Victory.”

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