There was little talk of bi-partisanship in Colts Neck yesterday morning at the Monmouth Republican Nominating Convention. The Republican nominee for Governor showed up at the Monmouth County Republican Nominating Convention.
Governor Chris Christie brought the crowd of some 400 county committee members and guests to their feet several times as he declared that it is he, and the Republicans who have stood with him “along with some right thinking Democrats,” who have turned Trenton upside down since he was elected in 2009.
Christie acknowledged the impact that the Monmouth GOP had in his 2009 victory over Jon Corzine. “When most people didn’t know me, you gave me a chance. When nobody thought I could win, you did,” Christie told the crowd as he thanked Monmouth for the 64,000 vote pluarity he won in the county in ’09 general election and the first GOP county endorsement he received in the ’09 primary. He specifically thanked former Monmouth Republican Chairman Joe Oxley who is now out of politics after being sworn in as a Superior Court Judge on Friday. “I will miss Joe’s political partnership,” said the governor, “but I know New Jersey will be well served by Joe in his new position, which I had something to do with him getting.”
Christie touted the accomplishment of his first term. The 2% property tax cap which resulted in “a 2.4% rise in property taxes in 2011 and a 1.9% rise in property taxes in 2012. “We have slowed the train that raised property taxes 70% over the eight years before I became governor,” Christie said, “If the Democrats would get off their rear ends we would lower property taxes…that’s what people want…smaller government on all levels..and that is what we will do in the second term.” He touted the pension and benefit reforms, teacher tenure reform and the smaller size of State government. “We have 5200 fewer State employees than when I was elected. The 2014 budget that I just introduced, it starts on July 1, spends less money than Jon Corzine’s 2008 budget. That’s how you reduce the size of government, despite the editorial boards who said it couldn’t be done. Less employees and lower spending is smaller government.”
Christie welcomed his presumed Democratic opponent, State Senator Barbara Buono, into the race repeatedly referring to her as “Corzine’s Budget Chair” as he recited the hundreds of tax and spending increases Buono voted for during her tenure as Chair of the Senate Budget Committee. “You know what she said recently when a reporter asked her about all of those tax increases? She said ‘I’m proud of my record as Budget Chair.’ Huh! I look forward to debating her, at the right time.”
“No longer a job, a mission”
Since Superstorm Sandy hit New Jersey, Christie no longer relates to the governorship as a job. Rebuilding the State, “different but better” for “our children and grandchildren’s children” has become a mission for the Governor.
“This is what they hired you to do,” Christie said the former Florida Governor Jeb Bush told me on the phone in Drumthwacket during Sandy, “rebuild the State.”
Prior to Christie’s arrival at the convention, Chairman John O. Bennett provided some quick witted entertainment.
Bennett introduced Christie to great applause from the convention floor, but the governor did not appear. After being flustered momentarily, Bennet broke into his Seth Macfarlane imitation, announcing the Von Trapp Family Singers.
All incumbents from the Monmouth County delegation in the State Legislature, Sheriff Shaun Golden, Freeholders Tom Arnone and Serena DiMaso, and State GOP Committee candidates Christine Hanlon and John Costigan were nominated by acclamation.
Congressman Chris Smith, just home from Rome for the investiture of Pope Francis, was warmly greeted by the convention with the first standing ovation of the day. In his brief remarks, Smith praised Monmouth County’s government employees and elected officials, both municipal and county, for their selfless work during the recovery from Superstorm Sandy. Smith singularly acknowledged Sheriff Shaun Golden’s work in the Sandy recovery,