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Gov. Chris Christie paid a visit to St. Luke’s Baptist church in Paterson, NJ yesterday, speaking to 700 constituents to make his bid for re-election. Paterson is largely Democratic and one-third African American. In 2009, 85 percent of the voters in that city placed their ballots for then-Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine.

“The purpose of spending this time together is that it gets harder to hate up close,” Gov. Christie said during his remarks. “It becomes harder to storm away without making a deal.”

Gov. Christie is running against Democratic state Senator Barbara Buono, who’s getting 56 percent of the non-white vote in the state, according to Buzzfeed.

After getting beaten badly in the presidential election last year, Republicans are making a concerted effort to reach non-white voters around the country. The question is whether the damage has already been done. Can the Republican party make inroads with the black community, and among other groups, in its current state? Particularly when its past is coming back to haunt them. The bartender who captured secret video of then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney making his infamous “47 percent” has come forward to talk about why he recorded the footage and released it. He said, according to another CBS report, he brought the camera because at a previous event, President Bill Clinton made a point to meet the catering staff. The bartender had hoped Mitt Romney would do the same. When he heard what Romney said, he thought it was his “civic duty” to release it to the media.

About a month ago, the Republican National Committee announced a series of “listening sessions” would be taking place in which the party would to get to know African Americans. This week, the RNC chairman, Reince Priebus, turned up in East New York, Brooklyn’s Christian Cultural Center to hear from 20 black Republican activists. These meetings have also taken place in Texas, Georgia, Colorado, California, and Washington DC, according to CBS.

“Today is about listening and today is a start. I’m not coming here with all of the answers but I am coming here with an open heart and an open mind and a serious drive,” Priebus said. He also said that a goal would be to support candidates on the local level.

We’ve got footage of Gov. Chris Christie speaking below. So will this drive African Americans to vote Republican?

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