Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Does Christie have to worry about his right flank in New Jersey?

Yesterday Politicker NJ reported that attorney Steve Grossman might challenge Chris Christie for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.

The conservative Grossman candidly explained why.

“Why would any Republican in his right mind want to support Chris Christie?” he said. “Republican voters deserve a choice.”

The Huffington Post reports that Grossman is allied with Christie's 2009 primary foe, Steve Lonegan, and is obviously to the right of Christie.

So what does this mean?

First, there's nothing to indicate Grossman even has a remote chance of doing damage.

In the most recent Quinnipiac poll, Christie -- who's been bludgeoned by some national conservatives lately -- showed no ill effects from the criticism and picked up an 89% approval rating with state Republicans.

Now, of course, that number is inflated by his hurricane handling, but if you take the position that Christie might be vulnerable among Republicans because of his Obama praise, Boehner bash etc., his approval ratings with conservatives would, theoretically, be lowest right now, no? And yet they're 89%.

If you still think they're artificially inflated among Republicans, then head back to summer of 2012 when Christie was scoring +80% approval ratings among New Jersey Republicans in these two Farleigh Dickinson polls (here and here).

No, Christie doesn't have a problem with Jersey Republicans, at all. The grumbling has come nearly entirely from national, grassroots activists.

So that leaves a couple comments on the potential challenge.

a. If anything, the headline "Christie might face tea party challenge" could only help him in a New Jersey general election.


b. The only danger to Christie is that a tea party challenger could get some air among national tea partiers, then show up on Mark Levin's show and further the divide between Christie and the national tea party movement.