New Jersey local officials and residents are expressing support for Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to not seek the Republican presidential nomination, saying he is needed in New Jersey.
In interviews conducted by Patch editors on Tuesday, many in New Jersey said they believed that the first term governor is still needed in the state. They cited work Christie has been doing locally, the impact on local communities and the need for Christie to gain more time in his current office before making a bid for the White House.
"He's more than capable of being president of the United States," Hopatcong Mayor Sylvia Petillo (R) said to Hopatcong Patch. "I just would like him to finish the initiatives he began on a state level. He's a very capable person. He would be successful in any position because he tells people the way it is."
Petillo’s comments were echoed by other Republicans around the state. Westfield Councilman Jim Foerst told Westfield Patch that he believes Christie would have done a good job as president, based on his record in New Jersey. At the same time, Foerst, a Republican state committeeman, said he wanted to see Christie continue his work there.
"I think the governor's done a great job getting our economic house in order. He’s been a leader, he's been able to bring compromise to Trenton," Foerst said. "While in Washington, they need some of that leadership, I think New Jersey is in good shape or better shape because he's here, and if he stays here, that would make New Jersey a great place. Let Washington figure out what Washington's going to do."
At least one New Jersey Republican expressed disappointment in Christie's decision not to run. Morristown Councilwoman Alison Deeb told Morristown Patch she had been planning to volunteer for Christie's presidential campaign.
"If he runs, I'm going to run up to New Hampshire and be a volunteer," Deeb said to Patch. "I think the country needs his kind of leadership right now. I don't agree with everything he says, but it would be great for New Jersey if he ran."
Experience weighed on the minds of other New Jersey residents when asked about Christie's decision. Small business owner Judy Mullins told Madison Patch that she has been pleased with Christie’s work as governor, particularly with economic and health care issues. At the same time she believes he should wait until 2016.
Mullins was not alone.
"Everybody wants Christie to [run] because they're disappointed with what they saw in the debates. ... On the other hand, he's still young," Chatham resident Hany Elsharkawy told Patch. "Maybe after another term when he has more experience."
At least one Democrat also endorsed the idea of Christie waiting four more years.
"I could have been swayed to vote [for Christie]," Pompton Lakes resident Denise Collins said to Morristown Patch. "I think I would like to see him finish his term here. He's not ready yet. He may be really well-qualified in 2016–I may consider him at that point."
At the same time, the idea of Christie waiting to move on appealed to residents as well as leaders.
"He's controversial," Long Valley resident Dawn O'Malley said to Patch. "He's made his mistakes before. I'd like to see him finish things here first. Fix New Jersey, then move on."
This article was written in partnership with Patch.com in New Jersey.