Rand Paul went to New Jersey campaigning for Republican candidate Steve Lonegan in that state’s special election (being held to fill the seat vacated by the sudden death of longtime Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg).
If you hadn’t heard, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wasn’t there – even though he had come out in support of Lonegan. Christise cited his wife’s birthday as the main reason. But since he and Paul have traded barbs over the last couple months, it’s hard not to think Paul’s presence might be related to Christie’s um, lack of presence.
David Hawkings with Roll Call explains how the two opponents are taking advantage of their perceived feud.
“On Friday, this will be the site of the next installment in the feud that’s been captivating the attention of the political class all summer — even though one of the combatants has wagered he’ll win this round by staying away.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has committed to being there, for the stated reason of headlining a fundraiser for Steve Lonegan, the sacrificial GOP lamb in the special election that’s going to send Cory Booker to the Senate.
Gov. Chris Christie just as definitely won’t be there, for the stated reason that it’s his wife’s 50th birthday and he’s got long-standing plans to whisk her to an undisclosed location for a long weekend.”
Paul offered a beer date to Christie, a time to settle their differences and quash the newly-sparked, minor feud. Christie though declined, saying he was busy running for re-election. Which is totally fair. But once again, hard not for people to speculate.
What’s most interesting though, and often overlooked, is that Paul and Christie have some very similar qualities – and both have used those qualities to become some of the most popular Republican figures in the United States today.
“The two may be about as ideologically far apart as it gets in today’s Republican Party leadership, and neither may have the elasticity required to secure the 2016 nomination on the right and then prevail in the general election from the center.
But both Paul and Christie have this much in common:
1. They are practiced political plotters.
2. Both have made an electoral virtue of plain-spokenness.
3. Each sees benefit in making a foil out of the other guy.
4. Both have decided they can color the Garden State red on the electoral map for the first time in a quarter-century.”
So you can see why both would benefit from the arrangement – Christie doesn’t have to back Paul and Lonegan (who doesn’t really line up with Christie ideologically anyway), and Paul gets a chance to make some hay in a big TV market. He’ll certainly get some attention from the cameras.
There is also some 2016 capitol at stake (even though it’s three years away still), as the two are both considered serious contenders for the Republican presidential nomination.
That’s far in the future though. It will be interesting to see how they continue to play out this media-attracting feud – Will they ever raise the beer…or just continue to raise the bar.
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