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.
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.