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New Jersey Republican Governor Christie easily wins re-election: media

y Victoria Cavaliere

ASBURY PARK, New Jersey |          Tue Nov 5, 2013 9:15pm EST

ASBURY PARK, New Jersey (Reuters) – New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie won re-election in a landslide on Tuesday, a victory seen boosting his widely expected bid for the White House in 2016.

Christie was projected the winner, within minutes of the polls closing, by CNN, CBS and NBC.

The Republican incumbent was ahead of his Democratic challenger, state Senator Barbara Buono, by 60 percent to 38 percent, according to the first precincts counted, according to NJ.com.

Cheers erupted among hundreds of supporters at the Asbury Park convention center, where Christie was slated to deliver his victory remarks.

“He speaks his mind. It’s not all sound bites, which is refreshing,” said Gregory Christie, of Wall, New Jersey, adding he was not related to the governor.

“(He can) work well across the aisle,” he added. “That’s very important to me.”

The big win by the blunt, tough-talking incumbent was expected by political experts to solidify his party standing nationally, showing he can win votes from both Republicans and Democrats.

Christie said on the campaign trail he was hoping for a big margin of victory at the polls.

“My goal always in this race has been to at least get to 50 percent plus one, and anything above that is gravy,” he said in an Election Day interview on CNN.

“I suspect we may do better than that,” he said.

A former prosecutor, Christie has been highly visible working with Democrats, such as newly elected U.S. Senator Cory Booker, the former mayor of Newark.

He notably praised President Barack Obama last year for his response to New Jersey’s needs after Superstorm Sandy devastated the state.

That gesture, which Christie explained was part of his job, infuriated many national Republicans who thought it hurt their presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, days later at the ballot box.

Christie’s popularity has remained high since the storm swept ashore and caused billions of dollars in damage and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

A big win will catch the eye of potential major political donors nationally, political experts said.

(Writing and additional reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Dina Kyriakidou and Peter Cooney)

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