1 STEP FORWARD 2 STEPS BACK: NJ Elects Karl Rove Stooge Guv; Philly Elects First Black District Attorney

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INQUIRER: Christopher J. Christie, campaigning as an agent of change, overwhelmed a powerful Democratic advantage Tuesday to defeat Gov. Corzine and become New Jersey’s first Republican governor-elect in a dozen years. Portrayed by Corzine as a referendum on President Obama’s agenda, the campaign drew national scrutiny – and three visits from the president to support the incumbent. But Christie fought aggressively, campaigning in cities and other Democratic strongholds. Christie, 47, a former U.S. attorney from the North Jersey town of Mendham, turned back both Corzine and a vigorous campaign from independent Chris Daggett. Although New Jersey is a reliably blue state, the conditions could not have been better for a challenger to unseat Corzine, an unpopular incumbent running in a recession. Unemployment went up to 9.8 percent – a rate higher than in nearby Pennsylvania and New York state. State revenues fell, and Corzine raised taxes on the wealthy and cut back property-tax rebates for many in the middle karlkoolaid_1.jpgand upper classes. Christie rigidly stuck to a plan of not giving voters too many specifics about his agenda, fearing the Corzine money machine would turn them against him. That stymied some voters ready for change but looking for a reason to choose Christie. MORE

RELATED: Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie has tried to escape the shadow of former President George W. Bush, whose support for Christie has become a major line of attack by Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine. But in an interview Tuesday and in congressional testimony last month, longtime Bush advisor Karl Rove said he had conversations with Christie about a possible run for governor while Christie was serving in the non-political position of U.S. attorney. Asked about Christie during a July 7 appearance before the committee, Rove said he never spoke with Christie about his investigations or other actions as the state’s top federal prosecutor. They did discuss the possibility Christie might run for governor, Rove testified. “I talked to him twice in the last couple of years, perhaps one time while I was at the White House and once or twice since I left the White House, but not regarding his duties as U.S. Attorney, but regarding his interest in running for governor, and he asked me questions about who — who were good people that knew about running for Governor that he could talk to,” Rove said in the testimony. MORE

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ASSOCIATED PRESS:  A longtime assistant prosecutor has easily been elected Philadelphia’s first black district attorney. Forty-two-year-old Seth Williams [PICTURED ABOVE, TO THE LEFT OF OBAMA] will be the city’s first new DA in nearly 20 years. He will succeed longtime incumbent Lynne Abraham, who did not seek another term. She has served in the post since 1991. MORE

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