My uncles, all North Jersey born and bred and still there, are union firefighters mostly in Essex County's big towns like Bloomfield and Newark. Another is a middle-class guy in the private sector. They all love the big guy, Christie.

That's what's weird about big swaths of New Jersey. Large numbers of union workers (NOT many teachers, though) vote Republican because the alternative, New Jersey Democrats, are considered by them to be among the most liberal that liberalism has to offer.

So my union card-carrying, firefighting uncles are probably disappointed that the big guy has announced he's not running for President. It's hard for people from New Jersey, even if they're Republican voters, to identify with Texas governors or Minnesota congresswomen or Ron Paul — who doesn't struggle to identify with that guy?

Mitt Romney is probably going to get their vote in the Jersey primary. Then he'll get their vote in the Jersey general, though it won't matter much considering New Jersey's 14 electoral votes have gone to the Democratic candidate the last five presidential elections.


So I'll just have to tell my uncles that there's always 2016. Christie should be back on the bully pulpit then (and he's probably hoping in a clandestine way that Obama wins re-election next year). It's just that I'll have to endure grumbling every year on golf course in Myrtle Beach and around the dinner table every Thanksgiving until then.

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