Chris Christie

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See also: Chris Christie possible presidential campaign, 2016
Chris Christie
Governor of New Jersey
In office
January 19, 2010 - Present
Years in position 5
PredecessorJon Corzine (D)
Chairman of the Republican Governors Association
Base salary$175,000
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
First electedNovember 2009
Campaign $$16,091,562
Term limitsTwo consecutive terms
Prior offices
U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey
January 2002 – December 2008
High schoolLivingston High School
Bachelor'sUniversity of Delaware (1984)
J.D.Seton Hall University (1987)
Date of birthSeptember 6, 1962
Place of birthNewark, New Jersey
ReligionRoman Catholic
Office website
Personal website
Christopher Christie (b. September 6, 1962, in Newark, New Jersey) is the 55th Governor of New Jersey. A Republican, Christie was first elected to his current office in 2009 when he defeated Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine. Christie won re-election to a second term as governor in the 2013 election.[1] He is considered a possible presidential candidate in 2016.

Christie began his political career as a Morris County freeholder. After losing his 1995 bid for State Assembly, Christie did not run for office again until the 2009 gubernatorial race. He worked as a lobbyist for energy companies until he was nominated by George W. Bush to serve as United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, a position he held from 2002-2008.[2][3]

Christie is often mentioned as a contender for the Republican 2016 presidential nomination.[4] In January 2015, Christie formed a political action committee, "Leadership Matters for America," that permits him to hire staff for a potential 2016 campaign for president.[5] He declined to run for president in 2012.[6][7] Seen by some as a divisive figure, Christie's popularity soared in the wake of his response to superstorm Sandy in October 2012.[8]

An analysis of Republican governors by Nate Silver of the New York Times in April 2013 ranked Christie as the least conservative GOP governor in the country.[9] According to On The Issues Vote Match, he is a "Moderate Populist Conservative."[10]


Christie is a New Jersey native, having been born in Newark and growing up in Livingston. As an undergraduate, he studied political science before going on to law school. In 1987, the same year he graduated, he was admitted to the bar in New Jersey and for the U.S. District Court for New Jersey.

He joined the law firm Dughi, Hewit & Palatucci, becoming a partner in 1993. The following year, he was elected a Freeholder of Morris County. In 1995, he ran for New Jersey's General Assembly. He lost that primary and then lost his re-election bid as a Freeholder after Republicans recruited a candidate to run against him.

In 1998, Christie registered as a lobbyist with his law firm and spent the next several years lobbying the state government on various issues. In 2001, he was nominated to be the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, ultimately being unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He served in that office from January 2002 until he began his gubernatorial campaign in 2009.

Christie was named as one of the top 100 most influential people by Time magazine in 2011 and 2013.[11]


  • J.D., Seton Hall University School of Law, 1987
  • B.A., Political Science, University of Delaware, 1984
  • Livingston High School, 1980

Political career

Governor of New Jersey (2010 - Present)

Christie was first elected Governor of New Jersey in 2009 and won a second term in 2013. He was sworn into his second term on January 21, 2014.[12]


Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")

  • Healthcare exchange

On December 6, 2012, Christie vetoed a bill to establish a state-based healthcare exchange under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. His determination was based on concerns about the potential cost of developing and implementing a New Jersey specific system, although he has not officially ceded all other provisional options for states unwilling to participate in the federal healthcare exchange, which is an online marketplace for citizens to purchase health insurance and apply to receive federal subsidies. Since Christie and state lawmakers were unable to agree on an alternative by the deadline on December 14, 2012, New Jersey entered the federal program by default.[13] New Jersey is one of 32 states to opt out of a state-based program.[14] On February 15, 2013, Christie formally announced that New Jersey would not create its own healthcare exchange, ceding that authority to the federal government.[15]

  • Medicaid Expansion

On February 26, 2013, Christie unveiled a state budget plan prescribing New Jersey's participation in the Medicaid expansion program outlined under the Affordable Care Act, becoming the eighth Republican governor to reluctantly endorse the law's optional state-level provision. Christie insisted that his overall opposition to Obamacare had not wavered despite his support for expanding Medicaid—a move that could extend insurance coverage to an additional 300,000 low-income residents and inject up to $300 million federal dollars into the state.[16][17] With his November 2013 election in mind, among other factors, Christie stated frankly during his state budget address, “It’s simple. We are putting people first,” about broadening the Medicaid eligibility requirements for New Jerseyans.[18]

Gun control

In January 2013, following the tragic elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, that claimed the lives of 20 children and six adult staff members, Christie created a bipartisan task force to study the issue of violence, seeking recommendations, not only on gun control, but on other "antiviolence" measures as well. “If we are truly going to take an honest and candid assessment of violence and public safety, we have to look more deeply at the underlying causes of many acts of violence,” Christie explained. The Republican governor has not opposed the state's current gun laws, which, he noted, are the second strictest in the nation after California.[19][20] The task force released a 95-page report in April of 2013, issuing recommendations on several state gun laws, limiting the sale of violent video games, increasing access to outpatient substance abuse clinics and creating a public awareness campaign aimed at de-stigmatizing mental health issues.[21]

Terror watch list

On August 8, 2013, Christie signed a state law that bans terror watch list members from purchasing weapons, citing "the obligation of government to ensure the safety and security of its people." He signed the bill the month after Congress voted down an amendment that would have barred people on the FBI's terror watch list from purchasing guns nationwide. The amendment was defeated in the U.S. House by nay votes from 27 Republicans and two Democrats. Although Christie supported the amendment, he agreed with fellow Republican Rodney Frelinghuysen, who represents New Jersey's 11th Congressional District and was among the 27 Republicans to vote against it, that the list's accuracy needed to improve. Prompted by Christie's approval of the related New Jersey-specific bill and remarks about the two New Jersey GOP leaders' divided positions on the issue, Frelinghuysen defended his vote, explaining, "First of all, anyone who thinks that terrorists will actually purchase their weapons through legal means is not living in the real world. Secondly, the terrorist watch lists are currently a mess — so filled with errors that they include thousands of innocent Americans and once contained the names of Sen. Ted Kennedy and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela."[22]

Hurricane Sandy

Christie's performance in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy resonated impressively with New Jersey voters, who rewarded Christie with peak job approval ratings. A Quinnipiac University Poll released on November 27, 2012, had Christie's approval rating soaring to 72 percent, compared to 56 percent in October and his previous record high of 59 percent from April.[23] The day before the poll was released, Christie announced his bid for re-election.[24] Since his peak poll numbers after Sandy, Christie's approval ratings have sunk to 35 percent.[25]

Job creation ranking

In a June 2013 analysis by The Business Journals, which ranked 45 of the country's 50 governors by their job creation records, Christie was ranked number 35. The five governors omitted from the analysis all assumed office in 2013. The ranking was based on a comparison of the annual private sector growth rate in all 50 states using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.[26][27]

Judicial appointments

As governor, Christie is responsible for appointing judges to New Jersey state courts. In New Jersey, the governor makes a judicial appointment and the nominee must be confirmed by the New Jersey Senate.

A conflict between Christie and Democratic members of the state Senate began in 2010, when Christie did not renominate Justice John Wallace to the New Jersey Supreme Court. It had been common practice for the governor to renominate justices of the Supreme Court at the end of their terms. Wallace would have gained lifetime tenure had he been renominated. Christie pointed to judicial activism as the reason for his unprecedented decision. Because judicial appointments in New Jersey require the confirmation of the state Senate, Democrats in the Senate were able to block many of Christie's following nominations to the high court. In 2013, Christie also decided not to renominate Justice Helen Hoens.

The long, partisan battle over appointments to the New Jersey Supreme Court gave way to a compromise on May 21, 2014. Christie reached a deal with Democratic Senator Stephen Sweeney to appoint Superior Court Judge Lee A. Solomon to the Supreme Court in exchange for the reappointment of Chief Justice Stuart Rabner.

Christie stated, "We have had a really vigorous and at times heated discussion about nominations to the Supreme Court over the last four years...Today, we find that common ground with Chief Justice Rabner."[28] Senator Sweeney noted, "We couldn't have come up with a better deal."[28]

Christie had previously nominated Solomon to the high court in 2011, but the nomination was rejected. The compromise was that Solomon's high court nomination would accompany the renomination of Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, who had been at odds with Christie regarding decisions on state housing, school funding and same-sex marriages.

Minimum wage amendment

On January 28, 2013, Christie vetoed a proposed constitutional amendment that would have increased minimum wage by $1, bringing it up to $8.50, within a few weeks of the potential law's enactment. Christie requested that the minimum wage be increased to $8.50, but over the span of two years instead of one year.[29] However, legislators in support of the measure did not agree with Christie's proposal, and turned their efforts to placing the measure on the ballot instead of trying to enact the law immediately through Christie.

In New Jersey, the state legislature must approve a proposed amendment by a supermajority vote of 60 percent, but the same amendment can also qualify for the ballot if successive sessions of the New Jersey State Legislature approve it by a simple majority. According to Sheila Oliver, who sponsored the vetoed bill, the governor's proposed alternative was not good enough, stating, "Any proposal that lacks annual adjustments to ensure wages keep pace with the economy is not a real solution. Gov. Christie's callous action leaves us no choice but to send this matter to the voters." Reports suggested that Christie's concern with the proposal was that a minimum-wage increase would hurt the state's economy. The New Jersey Business and Industry Association backed Christie's action and his counter-proposal with the group's vice president, Stefanie Riehl, saying, "Small businesses are struggling in this economy and facing the daunting task of rebuilding after Sandy, and are not in a position to absorb a 17 percent wage increase all at once."

In 2013, voters approved a constitutional amendment to increase New Jersey’s hourly wage to $8.25, with a provision to increase the minimum wage each year based on the Consumer Price Index. On January 1, 2015, the New Jersey minimum wage was increased to $8.38 per hour.[30]

National security policy and libertarianism

Speaking during a panel discussion with other Republican governors on July 25, 2013, Christie condemned the libertarian shift of some members of the GOP when it comes to national security. "This strain of libertarianism that's going through parties right now and making big headlines I think is a very dangerous thought," he stated.[31]

Christie's comments were in response to Republicans who argued that surveillance programs of the National Security Agency sacrificed too much privacy in the name of security. Among those was U.S. Senator Rand Paul, who, like Christie, is a potential contender for the GOP nomination for president in 2016. Christie evoked the terrorist attacks of September 11, saying, “These esoteric, intellectual debates — I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that conversation. And they won’t, because that’s a much tougher conversation to have.”[32]

Sen. Paul responded on Twitter, writing, "Christie worries about the dangers of freedom. I worry about the danger of losing that freedom. Spying without warrants is unconstitutional."[33]

Endorsement in New Jersey Senate special election

Gov. Christie endorsed Steve Lonegan (R) in the special election on August 20, 2013. In the endorsement, Christie stated, "Steve, as usual, ran the type of spirited, principled campaign that he has been known for his entire professional career in the primary."[34][35] Christie confirmed that he would be involved in the race, adding, “The apparatus of the Republican Party is going to be behind Steve Lonegan."[35] Lonegan lost the race to former Mayor of Newark, Cory Booker (D), 55-to-44 percent.[36]

2014 budget and pensions

In February, 2015, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson struck down Christie’s $1.57 billion in cuts from the state’s public pension fund. Christie approved the pension cuts due to low tax revenues for the state, but a group of state and national unions sued on the grounds of a 2011 law that funded New Jersey's pensions fully. Regarding her decision, Jacobson said, "“The court cannot allow the state to simply turn its back on its obligations to New Jersey’s public employees, especially in light of the fact that the state’s failure to make its full payment constitutes a substantial blow to the solvency of the pension funds in violation of plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.” Christie plans to appeal the ruling or must find $1.57 billion in the state budget to cover pension funds.[37][38]

In February 2014, Christie gave his annual budget address and stressed the problems facing New Jersey's public pension system.[39] Christie stated, “Without additional reforms, New Jersey taxpayers still owe $52 billion to fully fund the pension system."[39] He added that the problem would not disappear on its own, as long-term obligations would most likely continue to increase. Of the $34.4 billion budget, about 94 percent of the new spending was slated to go toward pensions, health benefits for retirees and debt services.[39]

Christie released a "No Pain No Gain" video in July 2014 that "portray[ed] the never-shy Christie as an action hero in the quest for another round of pension reform."[40]

Credit downgrades for state

New Jersey received two bond rating downgrades in 2014 due to high government debts, substantial funding commitments and Christie's approach to pension reform. Fitch Ratings issued a downgrade in May following Christie's announcement of an $807 million budget gap due to declining tax revenues. Fitch's September decision was made due to Christie's move to fill the gap by cutting pension expenses, despite an earlier agreement to increase pension funding. Standard & Poor's followed the September 5 downgrade by Fitch with its own downgrade on September 10. According to Bloomberg News, Christie holds the state record for downgrades during a gubernatorial tenure with eight downgrades since 2010.[41][42][43]

Presidential preference


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Chris Christie endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. [44]


One Newark

Launched in 2010 by former Democratic mayor of Newark, Cory Booker, with funding from a $100 million donation from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, One Newark is an initiative to remake public education in Newark, where education has become heavily reliant on charter schools, and student performance has been declining for decades. Five years after Christie and Booker launched the policy initiative, One Newark has seen little success and endured massive backlash. Newark parents have filed a federal civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, claiming that the plan disproportionately and negatively affects African Americans. The plan replaces the concept of neighborhood schools with a lottery system designed to give parents more choices, but often forces students to attend school across town. Christie stands behind the program, and renewed Newark Schools Superintendent Cami Anderson for her fifth year on the job, despite calls for her resignation.[45][46]

Exxon Mobil Settlement

In March 2015, New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney (D) and Senator Raymond Lesniak (D) blocked Christie’s attempt to settle an 11-year lawsuit against Exxon Mobil Corp. Three prior administrations pursued the $9 billion environmental contamination lawsuit against Exxon, which Christie is proposing to settle for only $250 million. New Jersey's current budget allows the governor to utilize money from environmental litigation settlements exceeding $50 million into the state’s general fund, instead of solely for pollution cleanup programs. This provision expires after June 30, 2015.

Exxon Mobil allegedly damaged 1,500 acres of land where the company ran oil refineries for decades. Sen. Lesniak filed an official request for all documents related to the settlement. “We have to and we will get to the bottom of this case to determine how $8.9 billion shrunk down to $250 million,” Lesniak said in a statement. “We are going to dig deep and then we will dig deeper to find the truth."

Critics maintain that Christie’s urgency to take a reduced settlement is tied to his desire to utilize the $250 million for budget gaps. Christie’s ties to Exxon Mobil stem from generous contributions to the Republican Governors Association; since 2009, Exxon has donated more than $1.9 billion to the association, which Christie chairs.

Christie’s first attorney general, Paula Dow, was a former lawyer for Exxon before she ran the state’s case against Exxon Mobil until 2012.[47]

Federal investigation into dismissed indictment

Former Hunterdon County assistant prosecutor Bennett Barlyn spurred a federal investigation into Christie's involvement in the dismissal of indictments against three county officials in 2010. In a February 2015 interview with U.S. Department of Justice investigators, Barlyn claimed that Christie's office directed the attorney general's office to expunge indictments against County Sheriff Deborah Trout, Undersheriff Michael Russo and investigator John Falat Jr. Federal investigators are looking into allegations that the governor's office worked to protect the trio due to their connection with Christie campaign donor and Celgene Corp. executive Robert Hariri.[48][49]

Trout, Russo and Falat were charged with official misconduct and falsifications of records following a two-year investigation by Barlyn starting in 2008. Hariri was connected to the case due to allegations that he received falsified law enforcement ID from Russo and Falat. Trout was also the chair of a pro-Christie group during the governor's 2009 election campaign. The attorney general's office assumed the case from Barlyn's office in 2011 and the charges were dropped. Barlyn was suspended and eventually terminated following the dropped charges, leading to a whistle-blower lawsuit in 2012 that cited political motivations for his dismissal. The governor's office has not released transcripts from the 2010 grand jury trial but has consistently denied involvement in the dropped charges since 2012.[48][49][50]

George Washington Bridge lane closures

A senior aide to Christie, along with two top political appointees, set up traffic jams in retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J. While Christie originally denied his office could have anything to do with the traffic problems, a series of e-mails and text messages were released showing the aides' involvement in traffic jams. In September 2013, two access lanes from Fort Lee into New York were closed by the aides and Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie's deputy chief of staff, resulting in four days of gridlock for the area. The Democratic mayor of Fort Lee refused to endorse Christie in the 2013 elections.
Bridget Anne Kelly was fired for her involvement in the traffic jams. In an e-mail sent three weeks prior to the lane closures to David Wildstein, the appointee at Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that operates the George Washington bridge, Kelly wrote "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." Wildstein claims the lanes were closed as part of a traffic study.[51] Many of the New Jersey newspapers' front pages covered the controversy on January 9, questioning Christie's innocence in the scandal. Christie responded, stating, “I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge. One thing is clear: this type of behavior is unacceptable and I will not tolerate it because the people of New Jersey deserve better.”[52][51]

Christie's administration hired the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher to investigate the lane closures. The law firm released a 360 page report on March 27, 2014, and said that they could not find a "shred of evidence," that would implicate Christie in the controversy. An employee at the firm, attorney Rando Mastro, said that the firm's 10 week review showed Christie "had no knowledge beforehand of this George Washington Bridge realignment idea, and that he played no role whatsoever in that decision or the implementation of it." In response to the critics of the idea that Wildstein and Kelly worked alone, Christie told ABC News that "Sometimes people do inexplicably stupid things, and so that's what makes it so hard then as the guy in charge - none of it made any sense to me, and to some extent still does not."

Since Christie's administration was the one to commission the law firm, there has been criticism surrounding the report. Mastro maintained that "it serves no one's interest for us to have done anything other than to try to get to the truth here." Five former federal prosecutors reviewed 250,000 pages of documents and conducted 70 interviews. The interviews, while including Christie, did not involve the two main characters involved in the story, Wildstein and Kelly. Other investigations will follow. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark is also investigating the matter.

The report addressed that Christie's press secretary Michael Drewniak recalled Wildstein saying he had told the governor about the traffic jams while they were underway. Wildstein and Christie were photographed together on the third day of the closures. Wildstein's lawyer has said "evidence exists" that contradicts Christie's timeline of when he learned of the closures but has not explained what the evidence is.

Christie confirmed that he did talk to Wildstein that day, but did not talk about the lane closures. "He didn't say: 'Hey, by the way, Governor, I'm closing down some lanes on the George Washington Bridge to stick it to the mayor. Is that OK?' That, I'd remember," Christie told ABC.[53]

On January 12, 2015, Wildstein plead guilty at the United States District Court in Newark to conspiracy to commit fraud and “conspiracy against civil rights.” Each count that Wildstein plead guilty to has a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. Kelly and Bill Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, were charged with nine counts, including conspiracy to commit fraud. Baroni and Kelly plead non-guilty to all charges, but Wildstein has corroborated the charges against them, claiming that the three of them collaborated in the bridge closing scheme. Judge Susan Wigenton set the trial for July 7, 2015. [54][55]

Access to the Region's Core tunnel

In 2010, a committee was designated to estimate the costs of building a tunnel to connect New Jersey to Manhattan and ease traffic on the connecting interstate highways. The tunnel was referred to as the ARC, Access to the Region's Core, and was projected by an original steering committee to cost between $11 billion and $14 billion. A separate investigative nonpartisan committee, led by the Government Accountability Office, estimated that the costs would be between $9.5 billion and $12.4 billion. A third estimate, by New Jersey Transit Officials, estimated the tunnel would not cost more than $10 billion.[56]

The new tunnel would run new trains, increasing the total number available from 23 to 48, and transport crowds between New Jersey and Manhattan. Christie originally endorsed the project, which was estimated to create 44,000-45,000 new and permanent jobs along with 5,700-6,000 temporary construction jobs.[57][58]

Christie’s office then said that federal officials had “confirmed” that the tunnel would cost from $10.8 billion to $13.7 billion. New Jersey officials disputed that estimate, saying the tunnel would cost no more than $10 billion, according to a Government Accountability Office report.[56]

Christie said to the Star-Ledger: "I refuse to compromise my principles, so when they want to build a tunnel to the basement of a Macy's and stick the New Jersey taxpayers with a bill of $3 to $5 billion over, no matter how much the administration yells and screams, you have to say no. You have to look them right in the eye, no matter how much they try to vilify you for it, and you have to say no. You have to be willing to say no to those things that compromise your principles."[58]

The cancellation ignited suspicion that there was an ulterior motive behind Christie's halt to the project. While Christie maintained that he wanted to avoid the state being held responsible for potentially billions of dollars from an over-budget tunnel, others felt he had other plans for the money earmarked for the ARC. In an effort to avoid raising New Jersey's gas taxes, Christie spent some of the earmarked tunnel money to refinance the state transportation trust fund three months after the ARC project was canceled.[57]

Construction had already started in Weehawkin, and the entrance to the tunnel, now referred to as the "Tunnel to Nowhere," had already been dug. Original projections showed construction would be completed in 2018, after which it was estimated that the tunnel would have saved commuters 23 minutes each way by eliminating train transfers. Penn Station's problems with overcrowding also could have been lessened with the addition of a new station on the west side of Manhattan, and home values along the proposed new route could have increased due to the decrease in travel time to Manhattan.[58]

Loan to campaign aide

During Christie's 2009 gubernatorial campaign, it was revealed that Christie loaned $46,000 to Michele Brown, a person he referred to as a personal friend in need. Brown was a top aide in the prosecutor's office and not immediately connected to the gubernatorial campaign. However, as an aide, she was able to persuade FBI agents and prosecutors to set the arrest date for over 40 cases of corruption to occur prior to July 1, the date his successor was set to take over the office, so that credit for the arrests could go solely to Christie.[57] Brown also was able to handle Freedom of Information Act requests submitted by the challenging candidate's campaign, which included information on Christie's travel and expenses while he was the U.S. attorney for New Jersey.[59]

Christie apologized for failing to report his loan to Brown on his tax returns and ethics filings, and Brown resigned from the prosecutor's office the same day the Justice Department was told to relieve her of her duties as the Freedom of Information Act request coordinator.[59]

Tourism ads

The $60 million federal grant supplied to New Jersey in the Sandy relief package included money to create a tourism ad for a stronger New Jersey after the hurricane. The ad featured Christie and his family on the beach and highlighted Christie's actions to rebuild the state. The 30-second video titled "Stronger than the storm" was viewed as a campaign ad by Christie's critics, and he was accused of spending the federal money to promote his accomplishments rather than to highlight the state.[57]

The ad's integrity was brought further into question after it was revealed that the ad agency with the lowest bid, the Sigma Group, proposed a fee $2 million less than the winning ad agency, but did not commit to featuring Chris Christie in their ads and was not ultimately awarded the contract. The committee responsible for awarding the contract included some people who worked for the Christie administration, several of whom had previously worked for his campaign.[60][57]

State employee compensation reform

Christie received significant criticism for his effort to reform state employee compensation during the summer of 2011. Ultimately, Christie and his supporters in the state legislature were able to pass a bill eliminating cost of living adjustments for state employees and suspending collective bargaining over healthcare compensation. 21 Democratic legislators — eight senators, including Senate President Stephen Sweeney, and 14 assemblymen — broke ranks with their colleagues to support the governor's reform bill.

The reaction from state union leaders, who strongly opposed reform efforts, was fierce. Christopher Shelton, an executive at the Communication Workers of America, compared Christie and his supporters to German fascists. According to Shelton, "the first thing the Nazis and Adolf Hitler did was go after the unions." He added, "Welcome to Nazi Germany."[61] The reform bill's Democratic supporters also faced retaliation from their erstwhile union allies; at an August meeting of the AFL-CIO labor union, members voted not to endorse Sweeney and Sen. Donald Norcross in their 2012 re-election campaigns.

Whitney Houston tribute

Following the premature death of Newark, N.J., native Whitney Houston on February 11, 2012, Christie decided to pay tribute to the state's fallen icon by ordering the flags of government buildings to be flown at half-staff on the day of her funeral — a recognition ordinarily reserved for fallen servicemen and elected officials.

This deviation from custom, as well as Houston's highly-publicized struggle with substance abuse, raised many eyebrows, and in several cases incited indignation. Christie defended his decision by saying that Houston, a former resident of Christie's town of Mendham, was "a daughter of New Jersey, and an important part of the cultural fabric of this state.”[62] He responded directly to accusations that he was “glorifying a drug user,” sent him via Twitter and other social media outlets, by maintaining the gesture was not an endorsement of Houston's lifestyle choices.[63]

On The Issues Vote Match

Chris Christie's Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the analysis, Christie is a Centrist.[10] Note: We are working to resolve inaccuracies with this information. Thank you for your patience.

On The Issues organization logo.




See also: Chris Christie possible presidential campaign, 2016 and Presidential election, 2016

Christie is considered a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016. When asked on August 14, 2014, whether he would enter the presidential race in 2016, Christie stated, "I’m thinking about it. It is an enormous decision to make not only for me, but my family. Probably by the end of this year or the beginning of next I’ll decide."[64] In 2012, Christie made visits to key states, including Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.[65] He also appeared at a national fundraising event in New York City on September 23, 2013.[66] There have been 17 presidents who previously served as governors.[67] In January 2015, Christie formed a political action committee, "Leadership Matters for America," that permits him to hire staff for a potential 2016 campaign for president.[68]


See also: New Jersey gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2013

Christie announced his bid for re-election as governor on November 26, 2012. He confirmed his candidacy in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated parts of New Jersey. The natural disaster offered the governor a critical opportunity to demonstrate his leadership skills; regarding his decision to seek a second term in 2013, Christie said, "I have a job to finish that I never anticipated six weeks ago happening...I just don't believe it would be right for me to leave now."[69]

Christie handily defeated single challenger Seth Grossman in the Republican primary on June 4, 2013.[70] He then faced Democratic Party nominee Barbara Buono in the general election on November 5, 2013.[71] The incumbents scored 60.5 percent of the vote with the New York Times calling the election for Christie two minutes after the polls closed.[72]

  • General

On November 5, 2013, Chris Christie and Kim Guadagno (R) won re-election as Governor and Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey. They defeated the Buono/Silva (D), Kaplan/Bell (L), Welzer/Alessandrini (I), Sare/Todd (I), Araujo/Salamanca (I), Schroeder/Moschella (I) and Boss/Thorne (I) ticket(s) in the general election.

Governor and Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngChris Christie & Kim Guadagno 60.3% 1,278,932
     Democratic Barbara Buono & Milly Silva 38.2% 809,978
     Libertarian Kenneth Kaplan & Brenda Bell 0.6% 12,155
     Independent Steven Welzer & Patricia Alessandrini 0.4% 8,295
     Independent Diane Sare & Bruce Todd 0.2% 3,360
     Independent William Araujo & Maria Salamanca 0.2% 3,300
     Independent Hank Schroeder & Patricia Moschella 0.1% 2,784
     Independent Jeff Boss & Robert Thorne 0.1% 2,062
Total Votes 2,120,866
Election Results Via: New Jersey Department of State
  • Primary
Governor of New Jersey Republican Primary Election, 2013
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngChris Christie Incumbent 91.9% 205,666
Seth Grossman 8.1% 18,095
Total Votes 223,761
Election Results via New Jersey Department of State.



Christie's 2013 re-election campaign was endorsed by numerous individuals and organizations, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Shaquille O'Neal[73]
  • National Pipefitters Union[74]
  • Mayor of Harrison Raymond McDonough (D)[75]
  • Harrison Town Council[75]
  • Port Authority Police Benevolent Association[76]
  • Latino Leadership Alliance PAC[77]
  • State Sen. and Union City Mayor Brian Stack (D)
  • Paterson City Council President Anthony Davis (D)[78]

September 2013 NYC event

Six of the Republican Party’s leaders and potential 2016 nominees jointly headlined a fundraiser for the Republican National Committee (RNC) in New York in September 2013.

According to an invitation that went out August 26, 2013, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Jets owner Woody Johnson hosted the event on September 23, 2013.[79] It was held at Johnson’s home.[79]

It was a dinner and reception with Gov. Christie, Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, as well as Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Rep. Paul Ryan, who were listed as the “special guests.”[79]

It represented a major force of star power at a single event on behalf of the party and it featured some of the party’s brightest future talent, many of whom represent different wings of the GOP.[79]

Race background

Election rating

In November 2012, the New Jersey gubernatorial election was rated by the Washington Post as one of the top five races to watch in 2013.[80] Christie's high-wattage presence notwithstanding, the contest never rose to the level of excitement originally anticipated. This was due in part to the decision of former Newark Mayor Cory Booker to run for U.S. Senate rather than attempt to oust Christie in 2013. Booker had long been considered the Democratic front-runner and best hope to take on the juggernaut incumbent, until announcing his — ultimately successful — Senate bid, and leaving comparatively unknown Democrats on their own to face Christie, whose upward career trajectory and bipartisan appeal made him a formidable opponent in the election.[81]


Incumbent Republican Gov. Chris Christie and Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono each faced a single challenger in the primary election on June 4, although neither presented a substantial challenge at the polls; Christie and Buono won their respective party nominations with roughly 90 percent of the vote.[82][83]

Former Atlantic City Councilman Seth Grossman was the sole Republican to brave a run against the popular first-term governor, whose profile rose following the response to Hurricane Sandy. Grossman's campaign criticized Christie for being overly moderate, while Buono's opponent Troy Webster, advisor to the mayor of East Orange, believed he was uniquely suited to making New Jersey friendlier to "the working poor and middle class families who have been literally 'thrown under the bus.'" Grossman and Webster were endorsed by the weekly publication NJ Today.[84]

Selection of running mates

In New Jersey, gubernatorial candidates have 30 days to select a lieutenant gubernatorial running mate with whom to share their ticket in the general election. Immediately after launching his re-election campaign, Christie secured his running mate, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. Buono, meanwhile, waited until July 29 to formally announce her choice of union leader Milly Silva, the executive vice president of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, as her running mate.[85][86] The two-woman ticket went up against incumbent pairing Chris Christie and Kim Guadagno in addition to a number of third-party opponents in the general election contest that took place on November 5, 2013.


Christie was heavily favored to win re-election, with his campaign raising nearly double that of Buono's in the primary and maintaining a decisive double-digit advantage in the polls throughout the election season.[87][88] In the final week before the general election, Christie boasted a staggering 24.3-point average polling lead.[89] He also had bipartisan support, which was crucial in a state where Democrats outnumbered Republicans by over 700,000, according to party registration statistics provided by the New Jersey Department of State.[90]

Public financing

Since 1977, New Jersey gubernatorial primary and general election candidates can qualify for a public funding program whereby candidates who raise a minimum amount of money are dispensed tax-generated funds, controlled by the state election law enforcement commission, in direct proportion to campaign donations given from the public. In 2013, the qualifying sum for primary gubernatorial candidates was $380,000.[91] The purpose of the program is to lessen the influence of corporate contributions in elections. On February 2, 2013, then-presumptive Democratic nominee Barbara Buono's campaign reported that it had surpassed the $380,000 mark.[92] By that time, Christie's campaign had already raised $2 million. Unlike in 2009, Christie declined to use matching funds in the 2013 primary, but he decided in August to opt in to the program for the general election phase. Under the program, Christie became eligible for an additional $8 million, approximately. The terms also required him to participate in two debates with Buono before the general election.[92][93]

Money in the campaign

Chris Christie[94] Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Post-Primary ReportJune 24, 2013$1,795,586.23$374,512.68$(2,016,343.59)$151,590.32
Running totals

In New Jersey, qualified candidates who choose to accept public funds may not spend more than $12.2 million on their gubernatorial campaigns. The maximum amount of public funds that any candidate may receive is $8.2 million.[95] New Jersey employs a two-to-one matching program for qualified contributions. It is detailed in Title 19 Chapter 25 Sub Chapter 15 of the New Jersey State Statutes.


September 26-October 28

New Jersey Governor's Race 2013
Poll Barbara Buono (D) Chris Christie* (R)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Monmouth University Poll
(September 26-29, 2013)
Fairleigh Dickenson Poll
(September 30, 2013-October 5, 2013)
Rasmussen Reports
(October 7, 2013)
Quinnipiac University Poll
(October 5-7, 2013)
Stockton Institute Poll
(October 3-8, 2013)
Monmouth University Poll
(October 10-12, 2013)
Quinnipiac University Poll
(October 10-14, 2013)
Rutgers Eagleton Poll (Likely Voters)
(October 7-13, 2013)
Quinnipiac University Poll
(October 21-27, 2013)
Stockton College Poll
(October 23-28, 2013)
AVERAGES 32.4% 59.2% 6.8% +/-3.22 1,037.4
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

April 19-September 22

New Jersey Governor's Race 2013
Poll Barbara Buono (D) Chris Christie* (R)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Quinnipiac University Poll
April 19-22, 2013
NBC News/Marist Poll
April 28-May 2, 2013
Quinnipiac University Poll
July 2-7, 2013
Quinnipiac University Poll
August 1-5, 2013
Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll
August 15-18, 2013
Farleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll
August 21-27, 2013
Rasmussen Reports Poll
September 10-11, 2013
Rutgers-Eagleton Poll
September 3-9, 2013
Stockton Poll
September 15-21, 2013
Quinnipiac University Poll
September 19-22, 2013
AVERAGES 30.2% 57.8% 9.9% +/-3.16 1,040.7
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to


Christie first won election in 2009, unseating incumbent governor Jon Corzine. He ran on a ticket with Kim Guadagno.[96]

Governor and Lt. Governor of New Jersey, 2009
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngChris Christie and Kim Guadagno 48.5% 1,174,445
     Democratic Jon Corzine and Loretta Weinberg Incumbent 44.9% 1,087,731
     Independent Christopher Daggett and Frank Esposito 5.8% 139,579
     Independent Kenneth Kaplan and John Paff 0.2% 4,830
     Independent Gary Steele and Theresa Nevins 0.1% 3,585
     Independent Jason Cullen and Gloria Leustek 0.1% 2,869
     Independent David Meiswinkle and Noelani Musicaro 0.1% 2,598
     Independent Kostas Petris and Kevin Davies 0.1% 2,563
     Independent Gregory Pason and Costantino Rozzo 0.1% 2,085
     Independent Gary Stein and Cynthia Stein 0.1% 1,625
     Independent Joshua Leinsdorf and Ubaldo Figliola 0% 1,021
     Independent Alvin Lindsay, Jr. and Eugene Harley 0% 753
     (None) Personal Choice 0% 108
Total Votes 2,423,792

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Christie is available dating back to 2009. Based on available campaign finance records, Christie raised a total of $28,258,802 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 21, 2014.[97][98]

Chris Christie's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2013 New Jersey Governor Won $12,167,240
2011 New Jersey Governor Not up for election $-166,764
2009 New Jersey Governor Won $16,258,326
Grand Total Raised $28,258,802


Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Chris Christie's donors each year.[99] Click [show] for more information.


Christie has been married since 1986 to Mary Pat Christie, nee Foster, whom he met at the University of Delaware. They have four children and reside in Mendham, New Jersey.

Recent news

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


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  2. Project Vote Smart, "Governor Christopher 'Chris' J. Christie's Biography," accessed July 21, 2012
  3., "Chris Christie," accessed March 16, 2013
  4. The Week, "Why CPAC didn't invite GOP star Chris Christie," February 26, 2013
  5., "Christie forms PAC to explore 2016 presidential run," January 26, 2015
  6., "Mitt Romney chooses Paul Ryan as running mate," August 11, 2012
  7. USA Today, "Romney's VP pick likely to go to safest candidate," July 14, 2012
  8. USA Today, "Polls show Christie riding high after Sandy response," November 27, 2012
  9. New York Times, "In State Governments, Signs of a Healthier G.O.P.," April 16, 2013
  10. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ontheissues
  11., "Christie makes Time's Top 100 most influential list for second time," April 18, 2013
  12. New York Daily News, "Gov. Chris Christie sworn in for second term, cancels inauguration party due to snow," January 21, 2014
  13. The Associated Press, "New Jersey Gov. Christie vetoes state-run health exchange bill," December 6, 2012
  14. The New York Times, "Most states miss deadline to set up health exchange," December 14, 2012
  15. The Star-Ledger, "Christie to let Obama create health insurance exchange," February 15, 2013
  16., “Gov. Christie to announce expansion of Medicaid in budget speech, sources say,” February 26, 2013
  17. Sabato’s Crystal Ball, “2013-2014 Gubernatorial races,” March 4, 2013
  18. Think, “Christie to support Medicaid expansion,” February 26, 2013
  19. Asbury Park Press, "For Christie, a delicate dance on gun control," January 23, 2013
  20. New Jersey Spotlight, "The Politics of Gun Control: Christie Aims for the Center," January 18, 2013
  21., "Christie violence task force: regulate gun sales, video games," April 10, 2013
  22. New, "Frelinghuysen, Christie split on letting terror watch list members buy guns," accessed August 19, 2013
  23. Quinnipiac University Poll, "Sandy Response Sends New Jersey Gov Approval Sky-High, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Back Stricter Codes For Shore Rebuilding," November 27, 2012
  24. USA Today, "New Jersey Governor Christie announces re-election bid," November 27, 2012
  25. New York Daily News, “Free-Falling: Gov. Chris Christie’s approval ratings in N.J. at lowest point ever,” March 3, 2015
  26. The Business Journals, "Governors and jobs: How governors rank for job creation in their states," June 27, 2013
  27. The Business Journals, "How state governors rank on their job-growth record," June 27, 2013
  28. 28.0 28.1, "In deal, Christie renominates Chief Justice Rabner and names Lee Solomon to court," May 22, 2014
  29., "Christie conditionally vetoes minimum-wage hike," January 29, 2013
  30., “NJ advocacy group says upcoming minimum wage is not enough,” December 29, 2014
  31. CBS News, "Invoking 9/11, Chris Christie slams libertarians," July 26, 2013
  32. The New York Times, "Christie Assails Libertarian Shift on National Security by Some in the G.O.P.," July 26, 2013
  33. Huffington Post, "Chris Christie Rails Against 'Very Dangerous' Libertarian Policy, Rand Paul," July 26, 2013
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  35. 35.0 35.1, "Christie Endorses Steve Lonegan in US Senate Race," accessed August 28, 2013
  36. Fox, "Booker wins New Jersey Senate Race, Dems Keep Seat," October 17, 2013
  37. Politico, “Chris Christie: ‘No new taxes’ in New Jersey,” February 24, 2015
  38. Politico, "Judge Overturns NJ Gov Christie Pension Cut," February 23, 2015
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2, "NJ Democrats rule out pension reform despite $52B debt," February 26, 2014
  40. Star Ledger, "Chris Christie pension video returns to YouTube, sans The Rock," July 16, 2014
  41. The Washington Post, "New Jersey’s credit rating has been downgraded more under Chris Christie than any other governor," September 8, 2014
  42., "Fitch downgrades N.J. debt, saying Christie is repudiating his pension reform," September 5, 2014
  43. Bloomberg, "N.J. Rating Cut by S&P as Christie Gets Record Downgrade," September 10, 2014
  44. Fox News, "Christie Endorses Romney Ahead of GOP Debate," October 11, 2011
  45. Washington Post, “Chris Christie’s bold plan to remake public schools is running into trouble,” March 3, 2015
  46. NJ Spotlight, “Cami Anderson gets another year at Newark schools helm, plus a performance bonus,” February 27, 2015
  47. International Business Times, “Chris Christie’s Exxon Settlement to be Blocked by New Jersey Senators,’’ March 3, 2015
  48. 48.0 48.1 International Business Times, "Chris Christie Administration Is Target Of New Federal Criminal Probe," February 5, 2015
  49. 49.0 49.1 CBS Philly, "AP: Feds Look Into Prosecutor’s Claims Involving Christie Donor," February 5, 2015
  50., "Whistle-blower suit plays role in Paula Dow's nomination to a Burlington County judgeship," June 29, 2012
  51. 51.0 51.1 CNN, "NJ Democrat lawmaker on traffic scandal: 'I do think laws have been broken,'" January 12, 2014
  52. Washington Post, "New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to address bridge scandal in news conference at 11 a.m.," January 9, 2014
  53., "Christie-appointed review clears governor in bridge scandal," March 28, 2014
  54. [ New York Times, "2 Indicted in George Washington Bridge Case; Ally of Christie Pleads Guilty," May 1, 2015}
  55. New York Times, "2 With Ties to Christie Plead Not Guilty in Bridge Scandal," May 4, 2015
  56. 56.0 56.1 New York Times, "Christie Stands by His Decision to Cancel Train Tunnel," April 10, 2012
  57. 57.0 57.1 57.2 57.3 57.4 Politico, "15 Chris Christie Controversies You Missed," January 9, 2014
  58. 58.0 58.1 58.2 New Jersey Spotlight, "Tunnel to Nowhere: New Rail Tunnel At Least a Decade Away," April 11, 2012
  59. 59.0 59.1 New York Times, "Christie May Have Gotten Improper Aid," October 19, 2009
  60. CNN, "Ad firm head: We were asked about using Christie in post-Sandy campaign," January 15, 2014
  61., "Union leader compares Gov. Christie to Hitler at pension reform protest," June 16, 2011
  62. Associated Press, "Christie strongly defends lowering flags," February 16, 2012
  63. The New York Times, "Christie spars on twitter over Houston Honor," February 15, 2012
  64., "Chris Christie on 2016 presidential run: 'I’m thinking about it'," August 14, 2014
  65. New York Daily News, "Election 2016: A look at possible candidates and who could run in the next presidential race," August 17, 2013
  66. Politico, "GOP 2016 hopefuls slated for NYC event," August 26, 2013
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  68., "Christie forms PAC to explore 2016 presidential run," January 26, 2015
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  70., "Christie and Buono wrap yawner primary season," June 4, 2013
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  72. New York Times, "Chris Christie Re-elected Governor of New Jersey," November 5, 2013
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  74. PolitickerNJ, "National pipefitters wade into gov. race, endorse Christie," March 26, 2013
  75. 75.0 75.1, "Harrison's Democratic leaders endorse Christie without tipping county Dem Party officials," February 1, 2013
  76., "Christie endorsed by Port Authority police union," January 22, 2013
  77. Fox News Latino, "Chris Christie Nabs Endorsement of New Jersey Latino Group," February 28, 2013
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  83., "Christie and Buono wrap yawner primary season," June 4, 2013
  84. NJ Today, "EDITORIAL: Troy Webster For Governor," April 14, 2013
  85., "Barbara Buono picks union leader Milly Silva as running mate," July 25, 2013
  86., "Buono announces Milly Silva as her lieutenant governor pick," July 29, 2013
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  90. New Jersey Department of State Elections Division, "Statewide Voter Registration Summary," May 7, 2013
  91., "Sen. Buono raises almost $250K in first month of campaigning," January 2, 2013
  92. 92.0 92.1 The Star-Ledger, "Buono qualifies for public matching funds in N.J. governor's race," February 4, 2013
  93., "Christie campaign participating in public financing program," August 20, 2013
  94. New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, "Campaign Finance Report Summary: Chris Christie," June 24, 2013
  95. New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, "Press Release," June 19, 2012 (dead link)
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  97. Follow the Money, "Career fundraising for Chris Christie," accessed May 22, 2013
  98. State of New Jersey Campaign Finance and Lobbying Disclosure, "Contributions to Gubernatorial Candidates," accessed July 21, 2014
  99. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
Political offices
Preceded by
Jon Corzine (D)
Governor of New Jersey
Succeeded by