Christie: Candidates matter
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 gubernatorial candidate 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.