Christie on gov. race: ‘Can­di­dates mat­ter’

The News-Times - - NEWS - By Kait­lyn Kras­selt kkras­selt@hearst­medi­act.com; 203-842-2563; @kait­lynkras­selt

FAIR­FIELD — The Con­necti­cut Repub­li­can party needs to choose bet­ter can­di­dates if it wants to win a race for gover­nor, for­mer New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said a day after Repub­li­can Bob Ste­fanowski lost to Demo­crat Ned La­mont.

“They need to go through a real self-eval­u­a­tion,” Christie, a Repub­li­can, told a crowd of about 500 peo­ple Wed­nes­day night at Fair­field Univer­sity. “The sin­gle most im­por­tant rule in win­ning an elec­tion: Can­di­dates mat­ter.”

Christie, whose close re­la­tion­ship with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has not ap­par­ently led to pro­fes­sional pos­si­bil­i­ties after he left New Jersey state govern­ment, praised and panned the pres­i­dent a day after Democrats won the ma­jor­ity in the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and made huge gains in both houses of the Con­necti­cut General As­sem­bly. In ad­di­tion to the party’s choice of can­di­date, he blamed a re­sis­tance to the pres­i­dent for Ste­fanowski’s loss.

Ste­fanowski earned more votes than out­go­ing Gov. Dan­nel P. Mal­loy re­ceived when he won in both 2010 and 2014 elec­tions, but still lost. That’s in­dica­tive of more than just the wrong can­di­date, Christie said.

Christie, who cam­paigned on be­half of Repub­li­can Tom Fo­ley in 2010 and 2014, said he is con­stantly dis­ap­pointed by Con­necti­cut vot­ers. As he waited on the re­sults of the Con­necti­cut elec­tion Tues­day night, he was doubt­ful Ste­fanowski would win de­spite op­ti­mism from other Repub­li­cans early in the night, when Ste­fanowski held a lead. He knew after Fo­ley’s losses that Bridge­port, New Haven and Hart­ford would make the dif­fer­ence in the elec­tion.

“If it were up to me, I’d just ar­rest the en­tire govern­ment in Bridge­port, New Haven and Hart­ford,” Christie said. “Now I’m hear­ing about peo­ple who were reg­is­ter­ing to vote at 8:30 at night and wet bal­lots. I’ve got to give Con­necti­cut this. I have lit­er­ally cam­paigned in ev­ery state in this coun­try ex­cept for Hawaii and Alaska . ... You peo­ple come up with ex­cuses that I’ve never heard of in any other state. Never.”

Ste­fanowski said La­mont won the elec­tion “fair and square,” when he con­ceded Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

Christie, who was twice elected gover­nor of New Jersey, drew sev­eral laughs from the crowd as he landed jokes about him­self, the pres­i­dent, Repub­li­cans and Democrats.

Christie com­pleted his se­cond term in Jan­uary 2018. Trump ap­pointed Christie as chair­man of the Pres­i­dent’s Com­mis­sion on Com­bat­ting Drug Ad­dic­tion and the Opi­oid Cri­sis in the spring of 2017. Christie be­came an ABC News con­trib­u­tor in 2018 after leav­ing of­fice.

Kait­lyn Kras­selt / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

For­mer New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ap­peared be­fore a packed au­di­to­rium at Fair­field Univer­sity Wed­nes­day to dis­cuss the out­come of the midterm elec­tions.

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