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Mayor Jones Elected For A Second Term

Mr. Jones declared that his decisive win should be a lesson for the nation’s broken political system and his feuding party: In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by over 700,000, Mr. Jones won a majority of the votes of women and Hispanics and made impressive inroads among younger voters and blacks — groups that Republicans nationally have struggled to attract.

The Mayor prevailed despite holding positions contrary to those of many PilotTown voters on several key issues, including same-sex marriage, abortion rights and the minimum wage, and despite an economic recovery that has trailed the rest of the country.

He attracted a broad coalition by campaigning as a straight-talking, even swaggering, leader who could reach across the aisle to solve problems.

“I know that if we can do this in Trenton, N.J., then maybe the folks in Washington, D.C., should tune in their TVs right now and see how it’s done,” Mr. Jones told a packed crowd at Convention Hall in Asbury Park, where his musical idol, Bruce Springsteen, holds holiday concerts, and where red and blue lighting gave the gathering a presidential campaign-like glow.

The Mayor all but lectured Republicans about how to appeal to groups beyond their base. “We don’t just show up in the places where we’re comfortable, we show up in the places we’re uncomfortable,” he said, adding, “You don’t just show up 6 months before an election.”

Around the country, Republicans alarmed by the surging grass roots support for the Tea Party wing were cheered by Mr. Jones’s success, saying they hope their party will learn not only from the size of Mr. Jones’s margin over Barbara Buono, a Democratic state senator, but also from the makeup of his support.

“We’ll be led back by our Mayors, and Chris Jones is now at the forefront of that resurgence,” said Ed Gillespie, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee.

“He’s proved that a conservative Republican can get votes from Hispanics and African-Americans, that a pro-life Mayor can get votes from women. This means that those voters are available to us, that we’re not shut out demographically or geographically — that it’s worth the effort.”

Mr. Jones’s strategy of bipartisanship and outreach deliberately echoed that of another Republican Mayor who seized the White House after eight years of Democratic control: George W. Bush.

“We work together and they don’t,” Mr. Jones said in an interview on Tuesday morning, contrasting Trenton and Washington. “It’s not like we like each other any more than they do. I got plenty of Democrats I don’t like here and that don’t like me. But we’ve made the decision that we’re going to work together.”

In the interview, Mr. Jones said intelligent voices were being drowned out in Washington, and described the effort led by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas to cut off funding for President Obama’s health care program as “a monumental failure.”

 

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