The biggest change in the second term for a post-Bridgegate, pre-2016 Gov. Chris Christie? Press conferences, once lengthy and frequent Trenton affairs, are now rare…at least in New Jersey.
Christie has spent all or part of 68 days out of state since he was sworn into a second term in January, largely due to his campaigning and fundraising roles as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. That’s about a third of the year. These travels haven’t prevented Christie from successfully pushing through major legislation and vetoing controversial bills. And by tweeting pictures of the Jersey Shore while he travels, he has given the sense that he’s hanging on the state’s beaches with everyone else.
But Statehouse reporters know better. This week Christie is holding three press conferences in two days — in Maine, Mississippi and Alabama. That’s the same number of press conferences he’s held in New Jersey in the last two months. Christie has only had four press conferences in-state since April — but he’s held 11 around the country during that same period, from New Hampshire to Iowa to California to New York.
New Jersey reporters often travel to whatever state Christie is campaigning and fundraising in, where we theoretically could ask him about New Jersey issues. But unlike the long Statehouse press conferences of Christie’s first term, these out-of-state question-and-answer sessions are far shorter, usually involving reporters crowding around Christie and the gubernatorial candidate he is campaigning for. And the questions are dominated by national reporters who want to know if he’s running for president, rather than about his New Jersey plans for pension reform, for example, or the rapid decline of Atlantic City.
Next up on the Christie itinerary is Kansas and Oklahoma. And then next month, he goes to Mexico. Como se dice “pension reform” en español?