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.