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Poll: What’s Behind Gov. Christie’s Flurry of Vetoes, Conditional Vetoes?

The governor may not spend much time in New Jersey, but he was back this week, blowing through 64 bills, racking up 25 vetoes

Gov. Chris Christie took time out of his hectic schedule campaigning for the GOP presidential nomination this week to head back to the Garden State, where a stack of pending legislation -- 64 bills in all -- awaited his attention. The governor signed 39 bills into law, but gave his veto pen almost as strenuous a workout, vetoing or conditionally vetoing 25 measures -- leaving his critics understandably unhappy.

Among the legislation that Christie rejected outright was the “Democracy Act,” which would streamline voter registration and simplify the voter process itself -- a seemingly smart move following a general election in which voter turnout barely broke 20 percent.

The governor is back on the campaign trail, leaving lawmakers on both sides of the aisle -- and New Jersey residents -- to deal with his decisions.

What’s behind Christie waiting until this week to take action on so many bills?

  • The governor seems to be only concerned with his presidential bid. He waited until the last possible minute to take action on the bills simply because he could. Any decision he made on a bill -- up or down -- was crafted with an eye to the GOP primaries.

  • By passing judgment on so many bills at once, a lot of his actions fell off the radar. Christie wants as little controversy in New Jersey as possible while he travels the rest of the country.

  • To be fair, Christie needs to await recommendations by attorneys and commissioners before he can make determinations. It’s not unusual for that to take some time.

  • Democrats set it up this way when they dumped a lot of bills in Christie’s lap in late spring and high-tailed it out of Trenton because they wanted to spend time stumping for reelection. What could you expect?

  • This could be Christie’s last chance to make unilateral determinations on bills without fear of an override. Next session, the last of his term, will be a bit harder to manage now that Democrats have picked up seats and he’s annoyed Republicans by focusing on his presidential ambitions to the detriment of all else. He had to make the most of it.

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