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GOP Loss In Bergen County A Sign Christie's Popularity Is Waning?

HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- New Jersey Gov. Christie relished Wednesday in his party's nationwide victory, one that he played a role in as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

"You can call it an acknowledgement of a lot of hard work by a lot of great governors," Christie said on "CBS This Morning."

"To win in Massachusetts, Maryland and Illinois last night is a good thing for a blue-state governor as chairman of the RGA."

But in New Jersey, the perfect storm toppled a key member of Christie's own party in a county that some consider to be red.

Republican incumbent Kathleen Donovan lost the Bergen County executive race to Democrat James Tedesco.

"As Bergen County goes, so goes New Jersey," said Peter Woolley, a political professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

That's because Bergen County is the largest county in New Jersey, where swing voters helped Christie get elected twice.

But it was also the county most affected by the George Washington Bridge scandal.

"He's not as popular as he used to be. There's no doubt about that," Woolley said. "His ratings are acceptbale. But in some measures he's above water, but he's not the rock star he used to be. He's much more damaged now."

Some say the loss in Bergen County may not have so much to do with Christie, a possible presidential candidate in 2016. The demographics are changing. Down south in the county, many Latinos, who tend to vote Democratic, are moving in. Up north, younger families with more progressive views are coming in from Manhattan.

"He's a spectacular man because he doesn't take bull from anybody and he tells it like it is, and people love that," said Jack Gruenberg, of Park Ridge.

"I am not a fan of Chris Christie. Never have been," said Sarah Perkins, of Glen Rock. "I don't like his policies. For me, is he losing his popularity? He never had it here."

Political analysts say, more than anything, the Bergen County loss could mean a Democratic governor could win in 2017.

Nationally, however, the Republican win could give Christie the bragging rights he needs to run for president.

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