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Katz on Christie

A regular blog that keeps tabs on the activities and fortunes of our renowned Governor, Chris Christie.
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The Nine Political Lives of Chris Christie

Matt Katz | July 15, 2016

Chris Christie suffered another political death Friday, losing a chance to become the vice presidential nominee. But Christie has resurrected himself before, and by our count he has one more life left. Here's a rundown: 

1) Christie lost his very first election, in junior high school, by two votes. The reason? He didn’t vote for himself, representing a two-vote swing. Lesson learned. Young Chris won his next five elections -- class president in 10th, 11th and 12th grades; then student body president at the University of Delaware; and finally, for his first public office, freeholder in Morris County.

2) Christie was sued for defamation in that first successful campaign for office -- and then sued again for defamation during his term in office. He angered local Republicans with his break-the-china approach to governing, and was ousted after a single term.

3) Christie’s 1995 attempt to run against an incumbent assemblyman who had just endorsed him for freeholder didn’t work. He finished the race in fourth (last) place. 

4) With his political career stalled, Christie raised money for President George W. Bush’s 2000 election.  After the Bush victory, he  successfully lobbied for a position in the administration -- US Attorney for New Jersey. But the federal prosecutor was soon put on two to-be-fired lists by Bush’s Attorney General for lack of loyalty to the administration. Shortly thereafter, following a leak to the press about an investigation by Christie into Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, Christie was taken off the list.

5) After much deliberation, Christie decided not to run for president in 2012. If he had, he would have been one of the two front-runners, with Mitt Romney. And given the excitement and support and freshness that surrounded him at the time, he may have won the nomination, if not the White House. 

6) Instead Christie gunned for a vice presidential spot, which would have allowed him to hedge his bets and remain governor. But after being put on Romney’s short list he was passed over for the job and instead had to run for reelection the following year.

7) With soaring popularity, Team Christie set its sights on a landslide victory that would propel him to the White House.  But that strategy led to zealous conquest of Democratic mayoral endorsements, and one recalcitrant mayor in Fort Lee, N.J. The ensuing Bridgegate scandal  ruined the start of his second term as governor, dried up his fundraising base and forced him into an uncharacteristically defensive stance with the media. Worse, it cracked open a hornet’s nest of other ethics scandals involving top members of his administration. All of this contributed to his poor performance as a presidential candidate, landing 0 delegates. 

8) Shortly after Christie dropped out of the race, he endorsed Donald Trump. As the first establishment, prominent Republican to back Trump, it was thought that this would give him a shot at vice president. It did! Christie was one of three finalists for the job. But on Friday, Trump announced that Mike Pence, a virtually unknown governor of Indiana, would get the nod.

9) If Morris the cat is any guide, Christie has one political life left. Attorney General in a Trump Administration? Perhaps chief of staff in Trump's White House? Of course, there’s always the 2020 or 2024 presidential elections. At age 53, Christie has at least one more political life left.

Matt Katz, New Jersey Public Radio/WNYC
Political reporter Matt Katz is The Christie Tracker at WNYC.org. NJ Spotlight is hosting his blog and running his stories, which can also be heard on WNYC 93.9 FM and 820 AM, as well as New Jersey Public Radio: Trenton 88.1, Sussex 88.5, Netcong 89.3, and Toms River 90.3.
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