User-agent: * Allow: / Trenton Butcher Block: To Know Christie the Governor, You Have to Know Christie the Freeholder

"Our Liberties We Prize, Our Rights We Will Defend."

Commentary on national and local events from the standpoint of a Trenton city resident and state worker.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

To Know Christie the Governor, You Have to Know Christie the Freeholder

I'm willing to bet Chris Christie was a schoolyard bully in grade school.  While I can't confirm that fact, he does not seem to have evolved much past the bully stage.  Here he is, confrontational, demanding and does not play well with others.  But beyond this, most people don't know much about the man beyond that he is a lawyer and worked a stint as US Attorney General for New Jersey.  I was curious to find out where he came from and what else he did in life, so I looked him up on Wikipedia.  You can access his biography there at the following link:

What you will find is that he held elected office only once before when he served a single term as a freeholder for Morris County from 1994 to 1998 During his short career in county politics he raised such a ruckus and antognized his contemporaries so much that his own Republican party sponsored another candidate to run against him in the primary in 1998, and he was defeated. 

Now you are probably wondering what Christie did as a freeholder that caused his own party to ditch him.  Well, when he ran in the primary in 1994, he lied that his opponents were under a criminal investigation for violating local laws.  After taking office he successfully pushed to have the architect charged with designing a new county jail dismissed, saying the architect was costing the county too much money.  After getting fired, the architect sued Christie for defamation for the remarks he made about the dismissal.

In 1995, one year after taking the freeholder job, Christie and Rick Merkt ran as an opposition slate against the regular organization candidates, incumbent assemblyman Anthony Bucco and Michael Patrick Carroll in the Republican primary.  Christie and Merkt were defeated by a wide margin.  The county Republican Party, unhappy with Christie's antics recruited John J. Murphy to to run against Christie for the Freeholder Board seat in the Republican primary in 1998.  Murphy, the endorsed candidate, won the primary and Christie's career in county politics was over, except for one last lawsuit.  In the campaign Murphy falsely accused Christie of having the county pay his legal bills in the architect lawsuit, so Christie sued and got an out of court settlement from Murphy.

So there you have it.   Christie bucks the party establishment and runs against the endorsed Republican incumbent in the 1994 primary.  He lies about his opponent's record so he can get elected, wins the election, but gets sued.  For one thing, you tend to upset the party establishment by challenging endorsed incumbents.  This can be forgiven somewhat if you manage to win, which he did, but he lied to do it.

Once in office, he challenges the other freeholders and has the architect that they hired removed, which is something that I'm sure ruffled a few feathers.  He then challenges an incumbent Republican in an Assembly race by running outside the column, thus committing an unpardonable sin twice.  This time he host and faced the full wrath of the party establishment.

My big question is why didn't we hear about this from Corzine's people during the governor's race.  Are the Dems a bunch of wimps or something not to challenge this part of his past.

Also, why did the Republicans invite him back to run for Governor in the first place.  I bet there are a lot of Republicans in high places in the state that are now biting their tongues and wishing they put somebody else in office.

Obviously, he is still the schoolyard bully that won't consult with others or take advice from his own people as evidenced recently by his rejection of the federal education grant application negotiated by Education secretary Bret Schundler and the NJEA.  Apparently it was more important for Christie to stick it to the teacher's union than to take the advice of the perfectly good conservative Republican he sent to negotiate for him.  I guess he doesn't need the federal money and would rather see more teachers get laid off.

Who knows, he may repeat himself and try to run for higher office before he finishes his first term as governor.  What will it be, Senator or President.  Probably wouldn't be a bad idea to have this pompous jerk run and loose, but what would happen if he makes it.

My guess is he will see his career as a governor end much the same was as his career as a freeholder ended.

His own Republicans will get rid of him and endorse someone else as the regular organization candidate in the primary.