I was listening on CSPAN to yesterday’s speeches at some RGA (Republican Governors Association) meeting, and it struck me: we were all assuming a… somewhat ‘meh’ year for the RGA. And it was realistic to do so: we had had such a great year in 2010 everybody figured that there’d be a reversion to the mean. I mean, we knew about Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania. We figured that Florida was going to be heavy lifting, and many of us figured that Rick Scott wouldn’t make it through. Maine and Paul LePage, likewise. Sam Brownback in Kansas was being treated as a dead man walking. There were even people worried about Rick Snyder in Michigan and Scott Walker in Wisconsin.
…Well. Corbett got eviscerated, on cue. Sean Parnell in Alaska eventually lost, in what can be charitably called a ‘mess’ of an election. But all those other people won – and then we flipped Illinois, Massachusetts, Arkansas, and Maryland. That’s a solid win for the RGA, which means that it’s a solid win for Chris Christie. Maryland’s Governor-elect Larry Hogan in particular couldn’t thank Christie enough for the RGA’s help, which was indeed easily the most significant support that the Hogan campaign got from the GOP*. That will have an effect on donors and organizations. And it’s a legitimate one: being able to win in tough places to win is pretty much the yardstick that we’re using for our Presidential candidates**.
This doesn’t make Chris Christie inevitable. It does make him more plausible, and you should probably take his candidacy seriously. Because he might end up being the nominee.
*I don’t even think that Hogan is all that upset about it. It was such a genuinely out-of-nowhere result that, really, how can you be annoyed that people didn’t really expect you to win the lottery?
**When you think about it, Scott Walker’s appeal to the conservative grassroots is based on the same criterion. Walker went into progressive-held territory and carved out an empire, complete with a Throne of Skulls.