By Joseph Ax (Reuters) – Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who backed Donald Trump’s successful 2016 presidential campaign but has since become a vocal critic, will launch his campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination on June 6, a person familiar with the matter said. Here are key facts about Christie’s life and career: […]
Factbox-Who is Chris Christie, Republican 2024 presidential hopeful?
By Joseph Ax
(Reuters) – Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who backed Donald Trump’s successful 2016 presidential campaign but has since become a vocal critic, will launch his campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination on June 6, a person familiar with the matter said.
Here are key facts about Christie’s life and career:
FROM PROSECUTOR TO POPULAR GOVERNOR
A native of Newark, New Jersey, Christie, 60, made a name for himself as the U.S. attorney for New Jersey from 2002 to 2008, prosecuting dozens of officials for corruption.
His most high-profile convictions included Charles Kushner, a real estate executive who pleaded guilty to tax evasion and other crimes. Kushner’s son, Jared, would become Trump’s son-in-law, and Christie wrote in a memoir that Kushner pushed him out of Trump’s inner circle in 2016 in retaliation for his father’s prosecution.
Christie ousted Democratic Governor Jon Corzine in the 2009 gubernatorial election. With his brash, unapologetic approach – critics called him a bully – Christie made headlines taking on public sector unions and other political opponents.
In 2012, Christie earned widespread praise for his handling of Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the Jersey Shore. When Barack Obama toured the state, the governor stood beside him and praised the Democratic president’s response, frustrating Republicans who felt it offered Obama a bipartisan boost just before the presidential election.
Christie swept to a second term in 2013 in a state where Democratic voters significantly outnumber Republicans, vaulting him toward the top of the list of potential future Republican presidential contenders.
BRIDGEGATE AND CHRISTIE’S 2016 CAMPAIGN
Soon after Christie’s re-election, several Christie allies were accused of having ordered lane closures in September 2013 at the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey – the world’s busiest span – to punish the town’s Democratic mayor for refusing to endorse Christie’s re-election campaign.
While Christie denied knowing about the “Bridgegate” scheme, the uproar – coupled with budget struggles that saw New Jersey’s credit repeatedly downgraded – damaged his standing.
Nevertheless, he launched a long-shot bid for president in June 2015. His distant sixth-place finish in New Hampshire ended his campaign in February 2016, and he became one of the first high-profile Republicans to endorse Trump.
He served as a campaign adviser but was passed over for administration jobs, first for vice president and then for attorney general. The trial of two Christie allies over Bridgegate in the fall of 2016 – where officials testified that Christie had been well aware of the scheme, despite his denials – generated fresh negative headlines.
Christie oversaw Trump’s transition team briefly before getting unceremoniously fired.
In July 2017, a photo of Christie and his family enjoying an empty beach that had been closed due to a government shutdown prompted widespread anger, further lowering his approval ratings.
Since leaving office in January 2018, Christie has been an ABC News commentator. In 2020, Christie helped Trump prepare for a debate against Democrat Joe Biden. But after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, Christie published a book calling on the Republican Party to move past Trump and his false claims of election fraud.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax)