New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential run is adding a new dimension to his already complicated relationship with Democrats in his home state.
Democrats who have alternately supported his major initiatives and bashed him are now telling a national audience that he’s not worthy of the presidency — even that he should resign as governor. At the very least, he should be sure not to ignore his home state, they say — all while using their opposition to him as a new way to raise money.
It’s not unusual for critics of governors running for president to make such calls. But Christie has been gone from the state an average of nearly three days a week in 2015. Several of his staffers also have followed him to the presidential campaign, including his former communications deputy, Maria Comella.
At a news conference on June 25 — his only one in New Jersey so far this year — Christie said technology and the New Jersey journalists who follow him everywhere keep him focused on his day job. “The idea that as governor of New Jersey you can ever really be disconnected — if you do it the way I do it, then you just can’t,” he said.
But Christie did concede that his travel schedule has had an effect on him. After delivering his state budget address in February, he vowed to hold a town hall event in the state every week until the budget was signed. He made good on that for seven weeks but has held only two in the state since April.
“It ain’t easy. I got tired. I said: ‘Listen guys, I’m tired. And when I’m tired, I make mistakes. You don’t want to make mistakes.’ So that’s why I did it,” he said. “You want a more honest answer than that? I was tired of it.”
There’s been weariness of Christie at home, too.
A Monmouth University poll released last week found that 76 percent of voters, including a slight majority of Republicans, thought Christie was more focused on his own political future than governing New Jersey.