Christie Faces Problems in NJ as National Profile Grows

Image: Christie Faces Problems in NJ as National Profile Grows

Wednesday, 04 Dec 2013 06:06 AM

By Lisa Barron

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was reelected in a landslide victory over his Democratic challenger last month, but ensuing troubles in the Garden State could hinder a possible presidential run in 2016.

Although Christie took over as chairman of the Republican Governors Association shortly after the election and polls indicate is the GOP frontrunner among possible presidential candidates, he is now under fire at from inside and outside his own party, according to Politico.

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Hispanic leaders in New Jersey, a traditionally blue state, have criticized Christie for backing down on a campaign pledge to support in-state tuition rates for illegal immigrants.

Meanwhile, former Republican Gov. Tom Kean publicly chastised the governor after Christie loyalists tried to oust Kean's son, Tom Kean Jr., from his post as state Senate minority leader after the GOP failed to pick up seats in last month's election.

The move failed, but there are still hard feelings.

"In my opinion it was wrong," the former governor told the Asbury Park Press. "Absolutely. You don't start going after people who have been loyal to you."

But Christie adviser Mike DuHaime dismissed the controversies, pointing to the 51-year-old governor's record.

"His leadership in New Jersey, both in times of crisis and in his long-term efforts to cut spending and reform education, is the very reason for the national speculation. I have zero doubt he will continue to get the job done in New Jersey," he told Politico.

Not necessarily, said Democratic strategist Tad Devine, who worked for Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis's 1988 presidential campaign.

"Some of the worst problems for a governor running for president are in their home state. We were always dealing with local political problems in Massachusetts that were completely out of proportion for a campaign for president," he recalled.

"And that was in a state dominated by Democrats. If the Republicans had controlled the legislature, it would've been a nightmare," he added.

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