New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been joking in public that his son calls New Hampshire his father’s “new home state” because of the amount of time he’s been spending there recently. Though currently undeclared, Christie is plainly running for president and is putting most of his emphasis on the New Hampshire Republican primary next year.
Adolescents in the Christie household aren’t the only ones noticing. The editorial board of Newark’s Star-Ledger last week wrote, “Enough. It's time for Gov. Chris Christie to quit his doomed presidential campaign and take a second shot at being governor. If he won't do that, he should at least stop accepting his $175,000 salary. Because let's face it: The man is not doing the job we hired him to do. The state is in crisis, and he is responding with neglect.”
There’s an alternative explanation for why Christie is spending his time outside the borders of the Garden State: home has become a distinctly unfriendly place for him. The latest crisis facing the governor is a convoluted State Supreme Court case in which the Christie administration is arguing that the law reforming the state government employee pension system – a law Christie has called his biggest achievement – is actually unconstitutional. The move is part of an effort to justify more than $1.5 billion in cuts that, workers claim, were made outside the parameters of the law.
A lower court wasn’t buying the Christie administration’s argument, and most observers don’t expect the state’s Supreme Court to look kindly on it either, meaning that sometime in the next several months, Christie is going to have to come up with $1.5 billion to pay back the pension fund from a state already in a budget crisis.
This comes a week after two of Christie’s former associates were indicted in the Bridgegate scandal, in which those aides allegedly conspired to punish a New Jersey mayor for not supporting Christie by cutting off access to a major bridge and causing four days of massive traffic jams.
Earlier this week, Christie learned that his approval rating in New Jersey had hit an all-time low of 35 percent, while his disapproval rating had spiked to 56 percent.
It’s no wonder he wants to spend time in New Hampshire.
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