ASBURY PARK, N.J. (AP) - Gov. Chris Christie was re-elected with ease Tuesday, demonstrating the kind of broad, bipartisan appeal that will serve as his opening argument should he seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
With 23 percent of precincts reporting, Christie had 58 percent of the vote to Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono's 41 percent.
He was expected to become the first Republican in a quarter-century to receive more than 50 percent of the New Jersey vote. This, in a state that President Barack Obama carried a year ago by more than 17 points, his biggest margin in the nation.
Buono told supporters in her hometown of Metuchen, on the fringes of the New York area, shortly after polls closed that she had called Christie to congratulate him. She noted they had their differences but added, "when it comes down to it, we're just two parents who want to see the best for our children's future."
Christie performed strongly across the political spectrum. Interviews with voters as they left polling places found Christie re-elected with broad support among whites, independents, moderates, voters over 40 and those opposing the health care law, among others.
He did well among groups that typically lean Democratic, carrying a majority of women and splitting Hispanics with Buono. And Christie improved on his share of the vote among blacks in 2009 by more than 10 percentage points.
The interviews were conducted for the AP and television networks ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox News by Edison Research.