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Poll: Who Should Run the Show When Gov. Chris Christie’s Out of State?

New legislation would allow Christie to sign and veto bills -- and perform other executive actions -- when he’s far from the Garden State

Gov. Chris Christie's high-profile trip to Mexico last month was just one of dozens of trips that have taken him out of the state for roughly a third of this year so far. For the months of July, August, and September, the governor was out-of-state more days than he was in New Jersey.

When Christie is away, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno is technically in charge.

When voters agreed to create the office of lieutenant governor in 2005, to be elected for the first time in 2009, one of the duties of the lieutenant governor specified in the interpretive statement to the ballot question was to serve as governor while the governor is out of town. That job used to fall to the president of the Senate, who also became acting governor if the governor left office early, as two recent New Jersey governors did -- Christie Whitman in 2001 and Jim McGreevey in 2004.

Now Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon (R-Monmouth) has posted a resolution seeking to amend the state constitution to allow the governor to maintain full control of the state while he is away. Christie reportedly called for the change last month, stating in effect that he is calling the shots anyway, regardless of where he is traveling. The resolution would only allow the lieutenant governor to take over when the governor is incapacitated, resigns, or dies, O'Scanlon told NJ Advance Media.

What do you think? Should NJ amend the constitution to allow the governor to keep all his power -- sign and veto bills, make appointments, issue executive orders -- while he is out of state?

  • Yes. Christie is right. There's no question that he is still in charge regardless of where he is. Why pretend Guadagno is running the state?

  • Yes. This is an important change needed because Christie is going to be doing a lot more travelling as he campaigns and raises money for Republicans across the country, and presumably runs for president in 2016.

  • No. Our constitution has long provided that the governor holds the power to run the state while he is in New Jersey and that is proper. Before the creation of the lieutenant governor's position, power over state operations used to pass to the Senate president when the governor left the state. There's no need to change that precedent because the current governor has his own larger political ambitions.

  • No. In fact, we should make sure that the governor does not get to pull the strings of his lieutenant while he is out of state. The constitution says he gives up his power when he leaves New Jersey and he should have to do so. Maybe then he'd spend more time here governing the state, rather than running for president.

  • I don't care, as long as the government keeps running.

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