New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie won re-election to a second term.
The Associated Press projected Christie, a Republican, the winner over Democrat Barbara Buono shortly after the polls closed in New Jersey at 8 pm ET.
While a big win by Christie was expected for months with polls showing him with a commanding lead, the victory nevertheless provides a springboard for a potential 2016 presidential run.
Christie, who possesses some of the highest approval ratings of any governor in the nation, is widely viewed as a potentially strong general-election candidate who could appeal to many Democrats as well as Republicans and independents.
But that very appeal, which comes partly from his pragmatic, straight-talking style, could make it very difficult for Christie to win key Republican primaries in places like Iowa and South Carolina.
Christie angered many of the conservative Republicans with his actions following Superstorm Sandy last year.
The Republican governor praised the emergency assistance his state’s battered beach towns received from the federal government, particularly President Obama, just weeks before the general election.
Some officials in Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign viewed Christie’s praise of the president as a traitorous act, as did many other Republicans. But Christie didn’t back down.
That call-it-as-he-sees-it approach, however, is a trait that endears Christie to many of his supporters. It’s what made YouTube videos of Christie’s performances at townhall meetings in New Jersey so popular.
While he has had mixed results as governor, Christie’s charisma and style are such that they led the editors at the Star-Ledger to write in their ambivalent endorsement of the governor “… You have to conclude he is much better at politics than he is at governing.”