Saying Goodbye to the Governor
Most of you are probably aware that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will leave office next week as one of the least-popular public officials ever.
The most recent Rutgers-Eagleton poll revealed that only 5% of state residents said they would miss Christie while a whopping 49% said “don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” 44% felt some of his tenure was good, some bad but it was time to move on and thanks for your service.
Only 13% of the 1,200 people surveyed had a favorable impression of the two-term governor while 68% had an unfavorable view of Christie, historically low numbers in a state that doesn’t usually think highly of its departing leaders.
Of course there was a time when Christie was viewed in a much different light and that was in the wake of Superstorm Sandy more than five years ago. He was applauded by many for putting his state ahead of politics and embracing the efforts of then President Obama and it helped him win re-election in 2013 by more than 20 percentage points.
By then his brazen style and incredible self-confidence had made him a political rock star and a leading contender in the Republican Party to run for President in 2016. However in between came the scandal that would be known as “Bridgegate” and by the time he decided to run in the summer of 2015 his popularity had dropped faster than the ball in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
Christie further angered New Jersey residents by spending a lot of time and money on a failed presidential campaign that kept him out of the state quite a bit and by the time he bowed out of the primary he was persona non grata in his own backyard.
I would probably fall into the category of those who think some of what he did was good, some bad and thank you for your service. But I do think like in the case of many professional athletes, he will be appreciated more when he’s gone then when he was in office.
Christie did many positive things during his eight years and those who think Phil Murphy has small shoes to fill might be in for a real surprise in the years ahead.