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The New Jersey governor was returned to office by a large margin Tuesday, in a victory that will bolster the spirits of the Republican party.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was re-elected Tuesday by a large margin, in a victory likely to bolster the spirits of a Republican party still smarting from the government shutdown.
The Republican incumbent won decisively in the predominantly Democratic state, which went to Barack Obama in last year's presidential election. With 94 percent of counties reporting, Christie had 60 percent of the vote, according to the Associated Press. His challenger, Democratic senator Barbara Buono, was on 39 percent.
More from GlobalPost: Can Christie save the Republicans in 2016?
Christie's victory over his rival was likely bolstered by his well-received response to Superstorm Sandy last year, as well as his much-publicized meeting with President Obama in the wake of the disaster.
“The glow of Sandy hasn’t worn off nearly as much as Buono hoped. The governor had an approval rating north of 60 percent just days before the election,” said Rider University political scientist Ben Dworkin to The Washington Post.
Republicans are likely to be encouraged by his victory in Democrat territory, indicating that the GOP can win votes from hard-to-reach demographics, under the right conditions.
“We’ll be led back by our governors, and Chris Christie is now at the forefront of that resurgence,” said Ed Gillespie, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, to The New York Times.
“He’s proved that a conservative Republican can get votes from Hispanics and African-Americans, that a pro-life governor can get votes from women. This means that those voters are available to us, that we’re not shut out demographically or geographically — that it’s worth the effort.”
New Jersey voters haven't broken with liberal ideals entirely, however: they voted by a wide margin to raise the state minimum wage to $7.25 to $8.25 an hour in January. Christie vetoed the minimum wage increase in January of this year.
The Washington Post looks at how Christie won re-election by such a large margin in this video:
Here are some initial social media responses to the victory: