"We show up ... everywhere," Christie said. "We don't just show up in places where we're comfortable; we show up in places where we are uncomfortable."
And at those places, Christie says, he gives people the straight stuff. "They never have to wonder who this guy is."
Good politicians tell people what they want to hear. Great political leaders tell people what they need to hear.
The blue state of New Jersey has responded to the tough-talking Republican. Twenty-one percent of blacks voted for Christie, twice the total from 2009. His share of the Hispanic vote rose 19 points to 51 percent. Thirty-two percent of Democrats and 66 percent of Independents voted for him.
Was that because Christie is a cool schmoozer? No, he's a rough-and-ready guy who runs things.
Many Republican leaders today believe the party is caught in a challenging paradox; how does the GOP attract more young and minority voters, while simultaneously appealing to its socially conservative base? It's the subject of much polling, analysis and modeling.
While all that's going on, Chris Christie, a self-identified conservative, is appealing to voters across the political spectrum by running his state like a strong mayor runs a big city. He's not bowling over people; he's in the lead, following the people.
Kercheval is host of TalkLine, broadcast by the MetroNews Statewide Radio Network from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. The show can be heard locally on WCHS 580 AM.