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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—There was a somber mood in New Brunswick City Hall on November 9.
Local officials here in this Democratic stronghold are lamenting the victory of entertainer and real estate developer Donald Trump, who won the US Presidential election in a stunning upset one day earlier.
In every election district in the Hub City, Hillary Clinton handily defeated Trump. Seventeen of the 25 municipalities in Democrat-controlled Middlesex County also saw more votes cast for the former First Lady than for Trump.
Clinton actually won more votes than Trump in the contest, not just here in New Jersey, but across the country.
However, the citizens of the United States do not directly elect their President due to a controversial mechanism included in the nation’s Constitution known as “the Electoral College”
When all the ballots are done being counted, it is estimated that Clinton will have won nearly 2 million more votes than Trump, yet Trump has been declared the victor over Clinton, who has served as a US Senator and Secretary of State under President Barack Obama.
As a result of this unique electoral system, four out of five states in the country have little impact on throughout the course of the election, and in its final outcome because it’s assumed which candidate will win statewide.
In every state except Maine and Nebraska, the person with the most votes in a state receives all of that state’s electoral votes under a “winner-take-all” system.
Because Clinton won more than 2 million votes in New Jersey, to Trump’s 1.5 million, that means that New Jersey’s 14 votes will all go to Clinton.
Trump’s win was no thanks to voters in New Brunswick who overwhelmingly rejected him at the polls with 7,805 Hub City voters casting ballots for Hillary Clinton and just 1,359 supporting Trump, according to unofficial results provided by the City Clerk’s Office.
Green Party candidate Jill Stein came in third place in New Brunswick, with 166 votes, followed closely by Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson with 159 votes.
Across Middlesex County, Clinton handily defeated Trump with 59% of the vote to Trump’s 38%.
But in the states that mattered this year–known as “swing states” because they are more unpredictable and could “swing” either way–Clinton was not so fortunate.
Trump pulled off upsets in Pennsylvania and Michigan, and ultimately secured enough electoral votes to put him over the top and send him to the White House.
But just what does a Trump presidency mean for New Jersey? Well it could mean the state will be getting a new Governor sooner than expected.
Trump and New Jersey’s deeply unpopular Governor Chris Christie both had a lot riding on the results of the Presidential election, and after Trump’s unexpected victory, both of their careers are looking a lot more promising.
Trump has named Christie to the key position of leading the “transition team,” the same role that convicted criminal David Samson served in when Christie became Governor in 2009.
That position is a critcial one, as the team will be responsible for deciding on many appointments for positions in the Trump administration.
It stands to reason that Christie, one of the first establishment Republicans to support Trump’s candidacy, could get a very high-powered position in Trump White House, one that could start as soon as January.
Like US President Barack Obama, Christie is term-limited and cannot run for re-election. Christie’s term is set to expire in 2018, but he could resign from the Governor job to work for Trump’s administration up to a year earlier.
That would mean that Christie’s Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno would also get a promotion and be elevated into NJ’s highest office, giving her incumbent status going into the 2017 election.
Further complicating matters, both Christie and Trump have baggage that they will bring with them to the White House.
Trump is expected to testify in a trial against one of his business ventures, Trump University. The accusations are strong, and accuse Trump’s organization of fraud.
Christie, meanwhile, is in the earliest stages of the criminal justice process for an official misconduct charge pending against him.
NJ State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg has also recently called for Christie to be impeached, or kicked out of office, for his behavior during a damaging scandal involving a scheme to cause traffic jams in the Borough of Fort Lee.
Just four days before the election, two of Christie’s appointees, including one who was previously a State Senator, were convicted of serious federal crimes by a jury.
Still, two others in Christie’s inner circle, including his mentor David Samson, are also likely to spend some of the next few years behind bars after pleading guilty to federal crimes.
And Weinberg is not the first to call for the Governor’s ouster. Many officials and advocates called on Christie to resign during his own ill-fated campaign for President. Even more seemed to call on him to step down after he began spending his time supporting Trump’s candidacy.
Christie’s seven years in office have been plagued by damaging scandals, and his approval rating in New Jersey is lower than ever before: just 19%.
Following the high-profile trial in the traffic jam scandal, known as “Bridgegate,” even more people have called on Christie to resign, and others have even called for him to be arrested for his role in the fiasco, which is widely credited with costing him the Presidency.
As for the criminal complaint against Christie, a crowd in Fort Lee municipal court applauded when Judge Roy McGeady determined there was probable cause to proceed with the complaint, which was filed by a citizen activist and retired firefighter who cited sworn testimony in the Bridgegate trial as its basis.
Christie is due in court at 1:30pm on November 23, the day before Thanksgiving.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick.