1. News & Issues
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Profile of Chris Christie, 55th Governor of New Jersey

By

Profile of Chris Christie, 55th Governor of New Jersey
Michael Todaro, Getty Images

Personal Life:

Chris Christie is a moderate-conservative Republican politician from New Jersey and a possible contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. A lawyer by trade, Christie graduated from Seton Hall University School of Law in 1987. He immediately went into practice and became a partner of a law firm by 1993. He entered politics shortly afterwards. Christie married Mary Pat in 1986 and together they have four children, all born between 1993 and 2003. Christie is known for his straight-forward and confrontational style.

Political Career:

Chris Christie's political career began when he was elected to the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 1994. He lost re-election in 1997 after upsetting establishment members of the local Republican Party. In 2001, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to be the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. During his tenure he came to be known for his success in battling public corruption. Chris Christie ran for Governor of New Jersey in 2009, defeating incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine 49-45% in the general election. Christie took advantage of the incumbents falling approval ratings due to his poor handling of the state's finances. Christie is up for re-election in 2013.

Ideology:

Governor Christie's political positions can range from conservative to moderate and he is not considered part of the tea party movement (though he was elected on the tea party wave of 2009-2010). On the upside, Christie does not appear to publicly alter his views based on how they might hurt or help electorally. As a result, he does not have a long history of flip-flopping on positions like many blue state Republicans. Christie ran for Governor as a pro-life candidate, staing he became pro-life when he heard his child's heartbeat for the first time. Christie also scores conservative points for getting New Jersey's fiscal house in order, battling teacher's unions (and winning!), and being a strong proponent of school choice.

While Christie believes in global warming to some extent, he also has opposed left-wing initiatives and cap-and-trade programs. He favors some gun control and his stance on illegal immigration - though not laid out - tends to the moderate left side. And while Christie is serious about his state's finances, he is also heavy into taking federal cash, applying for grants on massive federal initiatives. When a bill for Sandy aid was being considered in congress, he publicly attacked Republicans who wanted to remove billions of dollars worth of unrelated pork-spending and pet projects rather than those who were hurting the bill's credibility with the wasteful spending. While Christie opposes gay marriage, he does support civil unions.

Role in the 2012 Presidential Election:

Chris Christie was an early supporter of Republican nominee Mitt Romney and he campaigned with the GOP team regularly. He was considered a frontrunner for the vice-presidential nomination, but he was also considered a dark horse due to his tenacious personality. Rep. Paul Ryan was eventually selected as the nominee.

Christie was given the keynote speaker's slot at the GOP convention and was somewhat criticized by conservatives for mostly talking about himself. In November 2012, Super-Storm Sandy stuck the east coast. His interactions with President Obama were viewed as over-the-top and occasionally bizarre. After not visiting Louisiana in the aftermath of a hurricane during the Republican Convention, President Obama couldn't wait to land on the ground in New Jersey within a day of the storm having passed. It was apparent to conservatives that Obama was looking for a major photo-op just days before a tough re-election, and Christie's behavior gave his re-election team all of the boost it may have needed. Liberal pundits declared that the Obama "response" to the hurricane and the day-after-day of positive coverage with Christie would put the polls back in Obama's favor.

2016 Presidential Aspirations:

Chris Christie is seen as very likely to enter the 2016 presidential contest. Christie saw his favorable numbers rise sharply post-Sandy, and he would likely enter the contest as a sitting Governor. Christie is up for re-election in 2013, but might not face serious competition due to his popularity and his wide lead in political polling. Christie has the strong backing across the political spectrum, but has lost favor with many in the tea party movement due to his sometimes erratic behavior.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.