Incumbent Gov. Chris Christie easily rolled to victory over Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman in Tuesday’s Republican gubernatorial primary election, saying he’s made good on his 2009 campaign promise to "turn Trenton upside down."
"They're still shaking," he said late Tuesday in an acceptance speech in Bridgewater.
The governor said his opponents want to return New Jersey to the days of higher taxes and bigger government, a time when he says "unions ruled the people and not the other way around."
With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Christie had 199,688 votes (92 percent) to Grossman's 17,597 (8 percent).
The eight people waiting for Seth Grossman applauded when he entered their side alcove of the Shore Diner in Egg Harbor Township at around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Grossman thanked his supporters, saying that meeting the people interested in his campaign is a revelatory experience.
“I’m talking to people with genuine hope,” Grossman said. “It’s a great civics lesson.”
State Sen. Barbara Buono also brushed away token opposition on Tuesday to win the De
With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Buono had 165,589 votes (88 percent) to Troy Webster's 22,327 (12 percent).
The races' final days were overshadowed by the death of U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg and Christie's decision, on primary day, to announce an October special election to fill the seat rather than have the contest coincide with the Nov. 5 general election.
Christie sought to build bipartisan appeal ahead of the primary, looking to score a blowout win in November, which could set him up for a presidential run in 2016.
Buono, meanwhile, looked to cast doubt on the governor's claims New Jersey's economy has turned around, focusing attention on the state's continuing high unemployment and high property taxes.
"Our problem, my friends, is a governor who sees 400,000 people out of work and he tells us everything is just fine," she told supporters in Edison as she accepted her party's nomination.
She also used her speech to attack Christie's leadership style, saying it was time to put an end to "the era of mistaking name-calling for consensus-building."
Grossman said he would talk with supporters before deciding if he would back Christie.
The 64-year-old Somers Point attorney had sought to replicate the primary turnout of Steve Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota, Bergen County, who received 140,946 votes when he ran as Christie’s 2009 conservative alternative.
But Lonegan, the state director of the Tea Party-linked Americans for Prosperity, is not running this year and was quick to disavow the campaign of Grossman, a former supporter. Seemingly cut off from national Tea Party organizations, Grossman had difficulty raising money and throughout the spring held few events and did little to draw attention to his campaign.
Grossman also sought to challenge the Republican hierarchy by running a separate line of candidates across the state.
Grossman, a former Atlantic City Councilman and Atlantic County freeholder, said he worked to bring conservative groups together and he hoped future conservative candidates could build on his efforts.
“A lot of people say I’m not the Abraham Lincoln figure here. I’m the John Brown,” Grossman said, referencing the pre-Civil War antislavery radical.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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