When Chris Christie ran for governor in 2009, we had trouble endorsing his candidacy, for the simple reason that he offered almost no specifics about his plan for governance, other than that he wasn't Jon Corzine.
Today, the big question isn't how he'll govern, but for how long. It's no secret that he hopes the White House is in his future; a 2016 run would cut short his attention span in Trenton.
Despite that, based on what he's done for the business climate in New Jersey, we heartily endorse his re-election bid, and encourage business owners to vote for him and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.
Under Christie's watch, obstacles to doing business and getting contracts have been greatly streamlined. The state has an active, visible lieutenant governor who meets with executives to address their concerns — if you don't have her cell phone number, you're not paying attention. And the Economic Development Authority has a bolder suite of incentive programs to attract and retain businesses.
Christie is moving the ball forward on the American Dream project and in Atlantic City, though there is much to do yet on both fronts. He prioritized business needs in the recession's aftermath and was a steady hand during Hurricane Sandy. He has worked across the aisle to achieve spending caps and concessions from public workers. And he's tried to find middle ground on an increase in the minimum wage, though Democrats have decided they'd prefer to wage that battle through a constitutional amendment.
It hasn't been perfect, of course. Some of the news after Sandy, such as the no-bid contract with AshBritt, is hardly campaign material. Property taxes have gone in the wrong direction. The state isn't recovering jobs quickly enough, and trails the national recovery rate. And despite generous incentives offerings, the state has lost high-profile corporate tenants such as Roche and Hertz.
Still, we like the outlook under Christie much more than under Barbara Buono.
We know Buono is more than Corzine without the sweater vest, but she's offered little in the way of a detailed business agenda, beyond typical Democratic talking points such as expanded access to education — and no way to pay for them. Based on that kind of plan, it's easy to say Christie's the man we want in Drumthwacket. Executives should support Christie's re-election bid on Nov. 5.