Democrats begin effort to negatively define Chris Christie before 2016 campaign

As Christie campaigns next year alongside such Republican governors as Rick Scott of Florida, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania, “he’s going to have to answer the question ‘Is this good for the states to focus on radical social agendas?’ ” said Colm O’Comartun, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association.

“What’s worked for [Christie] has been to make sure that nobody talks about the issues, that people just get consumed with his personality-driven late-show entertainment,” O’Comartun said. “People will see past the bluster and the vaudeville routine that is the Chris Christie show. They’ll focus in on the issues.”

Democratic strategist Steve Murphy said Christie is “the strongest candidate” for Republicans against former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, who will be the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nomination if she chooses to run. He said Democrats would be wise to highlight Christie’s conservatism on economic issues.

“His policy set in New Jersey is ‘Bush-Romney,’ ” Murphy said. “By comparison to the tea party, he seems moderate, but he’s not. And Democrats would do well to expose that reality.”