People who live and work in Madison had differing views of Gov. Chris Christie's decision not to run for President, and what work remains here in New Jersey now that he is officially off the campaign trail.
"As he has repeatedly said, "no," I always took Chris at his word," said Mayor Mary-Anna Holden, a Republican. "I am glad he will be continuing to work to get New Jersey finances turned around and continue his schedule of reforms and efforts to bring business back to the State. He has done a lot to improve the state's stature nationally, and clearly, he will continue to express his mind."
"Gov. Christie has not yet earned his chops to be considered for President, and I am glad he has decided to continue his work here," said resident Kevin Casey. "He has many challenges in New Jersey, not the least of which is to help New Jersey become a more financially reasonable place to live. Our current climate of economic disarray, marked by an unattractive combination of high taxes and budgetary shortfalls, took some time to develop. It will take a governor with a long-term view, the capacity to make changes, and time to solve this issue. I believe Christie can be that person."
Some residents thought the decision to sit out the 2012 race a smart move.
"Like him or not — and mostly I don't — Christie made the wise decision to sit it out," said resident Steve Wells. "He would have been vulnerable on foreign affairs, and his bullying style wouldn't have played well at the national level. For him to try to put a national campaign together in such a short time frame would have been foolhardy. Now that New Jersey is stuck with him, one can only hope that he corrals his ego a bit and begins to govern with equanimity and respect for all people and classes."
Judy Mullins, owner of Poor Herbie's, was hopeful that Christie can focus squarely on what needs to be done in his home state.
"I'm pleased that the Governor will remain at the head of New Jersey's efforts to address jobs, the economy and health care," she said. "He has a determined style and I believe he will follow through on decisions, continue to cut spending, and hopefully eliminate redundancy in state government.
"If he can press ahead for compromises, he can be really ready in 2016, when his kids are older and he has a clearer vision of his full potential. I am glad he resisted the 'rock star' junk that surrounds the 'competition' for the 2012 election primaries."
"I think it was the right decision," said Robert Grundfest, a teacher at Madison High School and president of the Madison Education Association teachers union local. "He had been saying all along that he wasn't ready to be president and I don't think his feelings have changed. I'm sure it was a tremendous boost to his ego to be asked to run, but I also think he got a small taste of what his life would be like under the politcal microscope. He has a national political future, but not now.
"Gov. Christie will want to finish his stated goals to reform both the state's finances and education," Grundfest said. "This fall's state elections will determine the makeup of the Assembly and Senate and that, in large part, will determine how successful he ultimately will be."