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Chris Christie
Chris Christie (53297980082) (cropped).jpg
Christie in 2023
55th Governor of New Jersey
In office
January 19, 2010 – January 16, 2018
Lieutenant Kim Guadagno
Preceded by Jon Corzine
Succeeded by Phil Murphy
Chair of the Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission
In office
March 29, 2017 – November 1, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Position abolished
Chair of the Republican Governors Association
In office
November 21, 2013 – November 20, 2014
Preceded by Bobby Jindal
Succeeded by Bill Haslam
United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey
In office
January 17, 2002 – December 1, 2008
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Robert J. Cleary
Succeeded by Ralph Marra
Member of the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders
In office
January 1, 1995 – December 31, 1997
Preceded by Edward Tamm
Succeeded by John J. Murphy
Personal details
Christopher James Christie

(1962-09-06) September 6, 1962 (age 61)
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Political party Republican
Mary Pat Foster
(m. 1986)
Children 4
Residences Mendham, New Jersey, U.S.
Education University of Delaware (BA)
Seton Hall University (JD)
  • Politician
  • attorney
  • political commentator

Christopher James Christie (born September 6, 1962) is an American politician and former federal prosecutor who served as the 55th governor of New Jersey from 2010 to 2018. A member of the Republican Party, he was the United States Attorney for New Jersey from 2002 to 2008. He was a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 and 2024.

Christie was a close ally of Trump during his presidency, but later emerged as a harsh critic of Trump following Trump's refusal to accept his loss in the 2020 United States presidential election and the subsequent January 6 Capitol attack. On June 6, 2023, he announced his second presidential campaign for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election. Christie dropped out of the Republican primary on January 10, 2024 before primary voting started.

Early life and education

Christie was born on September 6, 1962, in Newark, New Jersey, to Sondra A. (née Grasso), a telephone receptionist, and Wilbur James "Bill" Christie, a certified public accountant who graduated from Rutgers Business School. His mother was of Italian (Sicilian) ancestry, and his father is of German, Scottish, and Irish descent. Christie's family moved to Livingston, New Jersey, after the 1967 Newark riots, and Christie lived there until he graduated from Livingston High School in 1980. At Livingston, Christie served as class president, played catcher for the baseball team, and was selected as a New Jersey Representative to the United States Senate Youth Program.

Christie's father and mother were Republican and Democratic, respectively. He has credited his Democratic-leaning mother for indirectly making him a Republican by encouraging him to volunteer for the gubernatorial candidate who became his role model, Tom Kean. Christie had become interested in Kean after the politician, then a state legislator, spoke to Christie's junior high school class.

Christie graduated from the University of Delaware in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science; while there, he served as president of the student body. He graduated from Seton Hall University School of Law with a J.D. in 1987. He was admitted to the New Jersey State Bar Association and the Bar of the United States District Court, District of New Jersey, in December 1987. He was awarded honorary doctorate degrees by Rutgers University and Monmouth University in 2010.

Early career

Christie was elected as a county freeholder (legislator) for Morris County, New Jersey, serving from 1995 to 1998. He worked for the campaigns of Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush; the latter appointed him U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, a position he held from January 2002 to December 2008. During his tenure, he oversaw the convictions of 130 public officials from both local and state levels.

Christie won the 2009 Republican primary for Governor of New Jersey and defeated Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine in the general election.

Governor of New Jersey (2010–2018)

Chris Christie 2013 campaign bus
Christie's campaign bus pulls out front of Stainton Square in Ocean City, New Jersey.
Flickr - The U.S. Army - NJ Governor Chris Christie, President George W. Bush and SFC Leroy Petry
Christie with former President George W. Bush and Leroy Petry in September 2011

Christie took office as Governor of New Jersey on January 19, 2010. He chose not to move his family into Drumthwacket, the governor's official mansion, and instead resided in a private Mendham Township, New Jersey, residence.

Fiscal issues

While campaigning for governor, Christie promised not to raise taxes. He also vowed to lower the state income and business taxes, with the qualification that this might not occur immediately.

As governor, Christie claims his annual budgets did not increase taxes, though he made reductions to tax credits such as the earned income tax credit and property tax relief programs, he would also sign legislation limiting property tax growth to 2% annually. Under Christie, there were no rate increases in the state's top three revenue generators: income tax, sales tax, and corporate tax.

In February 2010, Christie signed an executive order declaring a "state of fiscal emergency" due to the projected $2.2 billion budget deficit for that fiscal year. Following the order, Christie proposed a new budget which eliminated the New Jersey Department of the Public Advocate, which had an upkeep of $1.3 million. In late June 2011, Christie utilized New Jersey's line-item veto to eliminate nearly $1 billion from the proposed budget, signing it into law just hours prior to July 1, 2011, the beginning of the state's fiscal year. That same year, Christie signed into law a payroll tax cut authorizing the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development to reduce payroll deduction for most employees from $148 to $61 per year.

On five separate occasions, Christie vetoed legislation pushed by Democrats to implement a millionaire tax. After Democrat Phil Murphy became governor, Democrats backed off the legislation, with New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney stating, "[t]his state is taxed out. If you know anything about New Jersey, they're just weary of the taxes." The tax was eventually passed into law in 2020.

During Christie's tenure, New Jersey's credit rating was downgraded nine times (across Standard & Poor, Fitch Ratings, and Moody's Investors Service), leaving only Illinois with a lower rating among U.S. states. Christie received a B grade in 2012 and in 2014 from the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, in their biennial fiscal policy report on America's governors.

Tax credits and incentives

On September 18, 2013, Christie signed legislation to overhaul the state's business tax incentive programs. The legislation reduced the number of tax incentive programs from five to two, raised the caps on tax credits, and allowed smaller companies to qualify. It also increased the credits available for businesses in South Jersey.

Public employee pensions

In March 2010, Christie signed into law three state pension reform bills, which had passed with bipartisan support. The laws decreased pension benefits for future hires and required public employees to contribute 1.5 percent of their salaries toward their health care. The laws prompted a lawsuit by the police and firefighters' unions. In his campaign for governor, Christie opposed any change in pension benefits for firefighters and law enforcement officers, including "current officers, future officers or retirees". He described the pension agreement as "a sacred trust".

Later that year, he called for further cuts, including the elimination of cost-of-living adjustments for all current and future retirees. In June 2011, Christie announced a deal with the Democratic leadership of the legislature on a reform of public employee pensions and benefits. The deal raised public employees' pension contributions, mandated the state to make annual payments into the system, increased public employee contributions toward health insurance premiums, and ended collective bargaining for health benefits. The reform is projected to save the state $120 billion over 30 years.

In June 2013, Christie signed a $33 billion state budget that makes a record $1.7 billion payment to the state's pension fund and also increases school funding by almost $100 million. The budget resulted from negotiations between Christie and Democratic leaders in the state legislature and was the first that Christie has signed as passed, without vetoing any of its provisions.

In May 2014, Christie cut the contributions to New Jersey public workers' pension funds for a 14-month period by nearly $2.5 billion to deal with a revenue shortfall in the state budget of $2.75 billion. The state will instead make a $1.3 billion payment during the period. Christie cited the state constitution's requirement to have a balanced budget for his decision to cut payments to pensions for state workers, and follows Christie's changes to the state's pension formula earlier in 2014 to save $900 million through the end of his term.


One of Christie's most controversial school policies was to increase the state's control of school districts. The districts contained relatively high numbers of underachieving students, people of color, poor people, and members of the Democratic Party. In Newark, Christie hired Chris Cerf to replace Cami Anderson as the state-appointed superintendent of its school district. Under Christie, Cerf overruled the district's locally elected school board. Recent research indicated that the reforms implemented by Christie, Anderson, and Cerf did not improve educational outcomes.

Christie has been accused of under-funding school districts. Reports indicated that Christie's administration did not adhere to the School Funding Reform Act, and illegally withheld funds from districts throughout the state. His 2017 school funding proposal was described by education researchers as "one of the least equitable in the country". State commissioner of education Chris Cerf defended policies declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Christie, whose children attend Catholic school, supports the state giving tax credits to parents who send their children to private and parochial schools. He also supports school vouchers, which parents of students in failing school districts could use for tuition in private schools or for public schools in communities outside their own. Christie supports merit pay for teachers.

On August 25, 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that $400 million in federal Race to the Top education grants to New Jersey would not be issued due to a clerical error in the state's application by an unidentified mid-level state official. Christie said that the Obama administration had overstepped its authority, and the error was in the administration's failure to communicate with the New Jersey government. It was later learned that the issue had been raised with Bret Schundler, Christie's education commissioner. Christie asked for Schundler's resignation; Schundler initially agreed to resign, but asked to be fired the following morning to claim unemployment benefits. According to Schundler, he told Christie the truth and Christie misstated what actually occurred.

The Christie administration approved 23 new charter schools in January 2011, including New Jersey's first independent school for children with autism. The approvals increased the state's number of charter schools to 96.

On August 6, 2012, Christie signed a law reforming the tenure system for New Jersey public-school teachers. Under the law, teachers would be required to work four years (instead of three) to earn tenure; they would also need to receive positive ratings for two consecutive years. Tenured teachers with poor ratings for two consecutive years would be eligible for dismissal, with the hearing process for appeals related to dismissal of tenured teachers limited to 105 days.

On March 6, 2013, the Christie administration released proposed regulations to overhaul the process of evaluating public-school teachers. Under the proposal, a percentage of teacher evaluations would be based on student improvement in state tests or student achievement goals set by principals.

In September 2014, Christie signed a partnership with Mexico on a higher-education project to foster economic cooperation. The program would focus on research ventures, cross-border fellowships, student and teacher exchanges, conferences, and other educational opportunities.

Energy and environment

Christie has stated that he believes that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is too big and is "killing business" with permit delays and indiscriminate fines. He announced that, if elected, the agency would be his first target for government reduction: he would reduce its workforce and strip it of its fish and wildlife oversight.

Christie has stated that he intends to simultaneously spur growth in the state's manufacturing sector and increase New Jersey's capability to produce alternative energy. He has proposed a list of policy measures to achieve this, including giving tax credits to businesses that build new wind energy and manufacturing facilities, changing land use rules to allow solar energy on permanently preserved farmland, installing solar farms on closed landfills, setting up a consolidated energy promotion program, and following a five-to-one production to non-production job ratio in the creation of new energy jobs. In August 2010, legislation to encourage the development of wind power in New Jersey was signed by Christie at the Port of Paulsboro. The Offshore Wind Economic Development Act authorized New Jersey Economic Development Authority to provide up to $100 million in tax credits for wind energy facilities. The governor has pledged to ban coal-fired power plants, and to reach 22.5% renewable generation in the state by 2021.

On May 26, 2011, Christie announced he would pull the state out of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. This was challenged in court which ruled in March 2014 that Christie had acted illegally in doing so since state regulations do not permit it. His administration sought to repeal the rules.

Hydraulic fracturing

Christie has rejected permanent bans on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in New Jersey and vetoed measures that would ban the process and disposal of hydraulic fracturing waste in the State. New Jersey has few proven shale reserves and the process is not practiced there. Christie argued that the vetoed Senate Bill (S253) was premature because of an ongoing study to be completed in 2014 and would discriminate against other states, a violation of the Dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Supporters of legislation have said that hydraulic fracturing waste from Pennsylvania makes its way into New Jersey for treatment, although how much is not clear. They also criticized Christie's legal analysis saying that the Office of Legislative Services has said that the bill is constitutional.

Exxon Mobil environmental contamination lawsuit

Christie's administration settled a lawsuit with Exxon Mobil by allowing the corporation to pay $225 million in damages for environmental contamination at two sites, less than 3% of the $8.9 billion that the state's lawyers had sought, and extended the compensation to cover other damages not named in the original lawsuit. The settlement was criticized by environmental advocates. David Pringle, state campaign director of Clean Water Action, called it "the biggest corporate subsidy in state history", vowing to overturn it. Jeff Tittel of the Sierra Club said the settlement was "a violation of the public trust." The New Jersey State Senate also condemned the deal, with state senator Raymond Lesniak and others suggesting the decision was Christie's effort to plug his own budget shortfalls at the expense of taxpayers over the long term. ExxonMobil had donated $500,000 to the Republican Governors Association while Christie was chairman, though they have insisted it was unrelated to the ongoing suit. The previous gubernatorial administration, that of Democrat Jon Corzine, had also attempted to settle with Exxon, for $550 million, though this offer was made before a 2009 ruling that strengthened the state's bargaining position.

Farm animal welfare

Chris Christie by Gage Skidmore 5
Governor Chris Christie speaking at an event in October 2015

In June 2013, Christie vetoed S1921, an animal welfare bill introduced by the Humane Society of the United States to prohibit the use of gestation crates on pregnant pigs in the state. The bill had passed in the General Assembly with a vote of 60–5 and the Senate 29–4. A 2013 survey by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. showed 91% of New Jersey voters supported the legislation. An attempt to override the veto did not come to a vote. In October 2014, a similar bill banning gestation crates, S998, was proposed with a vote in the Senate of 32–1 and in the Assembly of 53–13 (with 9 abstentions). While campaigning in Iowa in November, in a conversation with the former president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, Christie indicated he would veto the bill. He did so on November 27, 2014. The bill's sponsor, Senator Raymond Lesniak, had vowed to override it.

Minimum wage and equal pay for women

In January 2013, Christie vetoed a New Jersey Legislature bill that would have raised the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 per hour. The following November, the issue was placed on the ballot as a constitutional amendment referendum, passing with 61% of the vote.

On September 21, 2012, Christie signed Assembly Bill No. 2647 (A-2647) into law that requires employers to post and distribute notice of employees' rights to gender-equal pay, but conditionally vetoed other gender parity bills, requesting revision.


Christie emphasizes the need to secure the border, and believes it is premature to discuss legalization of people who came to the United States unlawfully. While serving as U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey, Christie stressed that simply "[b]eing in this country without proper documentation is not a crime," but rather a civil wrong; and that undocumented people are not criminals unless they have re-entered the country after being deported. As such, Christie stated, responsibility for dealing with improperly documented foreign nationals lies with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, not the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Christie has been critical about section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, enacted in 1996, which can be used to grant local law enforcement officers power to perform immigration law enforcement functions.

In state tuition for undocumented immigrants

In December 2013, Christie signed legislation allowing unauthorized immigrants who attend high school for at least three years in New Jersey and graduate to be eligible for the resident rates at state college and universities and community colleges.

Social issues


Christie responded to calls by President Obama to prevent the spread of measles by saying that parents should have a choice. The governor's office said that he "believes vaccines are an important public health protection and with a disease like measles there is no question kids should be vaccinated", but that he was unaware of a free national program to provide new parents with a vaccine checklist.

Gun control

Christie has said that each state has the right to determine firearms laws without federal interference. When announcing his candidacy in 2009 he said he supported aggressive enforcement of the state's current gun laws.

In January 2018, during his final days as Governor of New Jersey, Christie signed legislation making bump stocks illegal in the state.


Christie has raised tolls and fares ("user fees") on the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, Hudson River crossings and NJ Transit buses and trains during his administration to fund projects throughout the state. In 2014, Christie authorized the increase of numerous other fees charged by the state for various licensing and administrative fees.

In 2010, Christie cancelled the Access to the Region's Core project, which would have constructed two new tunnels under the Hudson River and a new terminal station in New York City for NJ Transit commuter trains. Christopher O. Ward advocated for the tunnel on behalf of the Port Authority. Christie cited escalating costs and possible further overruns as the reason for his decision. Proponents of the project said it would have created 6,000 construction jobs per year and 45,000 secondary jobs once complete. After the cancellation, New Jersey had to return $95 million to the federal government, and used $1.8 billion of Port Authority of New York and New Jersey money from the project budget to pay for repairs to the Pulaski Skyway, since the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund that should fund such maintenance was effectively bankrupt. The termination of the project has made the need for increased rail capacity under the Hudson River more urgent, and Amtrak's Gateway Project to bore new tunnels is currently unfunded.

Republican Governors Association

Chris Christie & Doug Ducey by Gage Skidmore
Governor Chris Christie campaigning with Arizona gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey in 2014

In November 2013, Christie was elected chairman of the Republican Governors Association, succeeding Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Christie campaigned extensively on behalf of Republican governors running for re-election. In the first three months of 2014, the RGA raised a record sum for the first quarter of a mid-term election year, and almost doubled the amount raised by the Democratic Governors Association during the same period.

Christie presided over net gains in Republican governorships in the 2014 elections, including for Republican gubernatorial candidates in three largely Democratic states: Bruce Rauner in Illinois, Larry Hogan in Maryland and Charlie Baker in Massachusetts.

Presidential politics

Chris Christie by Gage Skidmore 6
Chris Christie speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference

In January 2015, Christie took his first formal step towards a presidential candidacy by forming a political action committee (PAC) in order to raise funds and prepare for a likely 2016 presidential bid. On June 27, 2015, Christie launched his presidential campaign website. He formally announced his candidacy on June 30, 2015.

Christie dropped out of the race on February 10, 2016, after the New Hampshire primary following a poor showing and low poll numbers. He received 7.4% of the overall vote in the New Hampshire primary.

Christie 2016 RNC (cropped)
Christie speaking at the 2016 Republican National Convention

2024 presidential election

On May 31, 2023, Axios reported that Chris Christie was planning to announce his presidential campaign in the coming days. On June 6, Christie filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to run for president, announcing his bid later that day at an event in Manchester, New Hampshire.

On January 10, 2024, Christie dropped out of the presidential race at a scheduled town hall meeting in Windham. His campaign had focused on winning the New Hampshire primary, hoping for a subsequent national boost. Christie had been under pressure to dropout after recent polls showed Nikki Haley closing in on Trump in New Hampshire. During his withdrawal address, Christie stressed his decision was made to prevent vote splitting and ensure Trump did not win the primary.

Post-gubernatorial career

Politicon 2018 (45523718542)
Christie attending Politicon at the Los Angeles Convention Center, October 2018

In January 2018, Christie joined ABC News as a regular network contributor.

Christie published a book titled Let Me Finish in January 2019. Also that year, he was selected for the Sports Betting Hall of Fame in recognition of his role in New Jersey's successful effort to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, the U.S. federal law banning single-game sports betting outside Nevada.

In 2018 Christie started a federal lobbying firm called Christie 55 Solutions.

In March 2021, Christie joined the board of directors of the New York Mets front office. It was reported in June 2023 that he would remain on the board while running for president.

Personal life

In 1986, Christie married Mary Pat Foster, a fellow student at the University of Delaware.

Christie and Mary Pat have four children: Andrew (b. 1993), Sarah (b. 1996), Patrick (b. 2000) and Bridget (b. 2003). The family resides in Mendham Township. The family also owns a house in Bay Head.

Christie's hobbies have included coaching Little League, watching the New York Mets, and attending Bruce Springsteen concerts (152 of them). Christie's other favorite sports teams are the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, and Dallas Cowboys. He is a practicing Catholic and member of St. Joseph's Catholic Church.

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