Meet Chris Christie: Everything You Need to Know (And Probably Didn't Know) About the 2016 Republican Presidential Candidate
And a few things you probably didn't know.
— -- Name: Christopher James Christie
What he does now: Governor of New Jersey. Christie was first elected in 2009 and won re-election in 2013.
What he used to do: Before becoming governor, Christie served as the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey (he was nominated by then-President George W. Bush in 2002). In this role, he gained a reputation as an aggressive, anti-corruption prosecutor. He was previously a partner at a law firm and a New Jersey Freeholder, or county commissioner.
Declared as a candidate: June 30, 2015 in Livingston, New Jersey.
In his own words: "I don't do something great every day -- I'm human. But every morning I wake up with an opportunity to do something great. That's why this job is a great job. And that's why president of the United States is an even greater job for a greater number of people." (Presidential campaign announcement speech)
Family tree: Christie grew up in New Jersey, raised by an Irish father and a Sicilian mother. His parents both grew up in poverty. Christie married his college sweetheart Mary Pat Foster in 1986. The two have four children together: Andrew, Sarah, Patrick and Bridget.
Breakout moment: When Hurricane Sandy destroyed much of the Jersey Shore in late 2012, Christie’s response to the storm’s wrath boosted his national profile. He also saw a surge in his approval ratings for his response. His leadership in those first initial months of recovery was viewed mostly favorable by New Jersey -- and New York -- residents. He was able to ride those high approval ratings to re-election.
Might have wished for a do-over: In early 2015, Christie left Jersey for a three-day trade trip to the United Kingdom. However, the trip earned Christie headlines like “Chris Christie’s London trip was a disaster” and “Chris Christie’s weeklong train wreck.” Christie caught flack for his comments on vaccines, wouldn’t take press questions, and The New York Times published an article on his taste for finer things.
Landed in hot water: For a widely-publicized hug with Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones. After the Cowboys’ win against the Detroit Lions in the 2015 NFL playoffs, Christie was caught on camera celebrating with Jones in the owner’s box. The public hug with Jones was not appreciated by New Jersey football fans, nor a Democratic group that ordered an ethics investigation.
How he handles critics: Bluntly. On the second anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Christie went up against a local activist who was heckling him during his remarks. “So listen, you want to have the conversation later, I’m happy to have it, buddy. But until that time,” Christie said. “Sit down and shut up.”
Guilty pleasure: Bruce Springsteen. Christie has reportedly attended over 100 Springsteen concerts, and knows every lyric to every song. The relationship between the rock star and the politician however is complicated, mostly because Springsteen is a Democrat and Christie is a Republican. Christie has met his idol a few times, more notably at a telethon for Hurricane Sandy victims after which he cried.
Potential baggage: Although cleared of any wrongdoing in the George Washington bridge lane closure scandal, Christie took a major political hit for the 2013 lane shutdown ensuing traffic jam. Three former members of his administration were indicted for their involvement in the scandal.
The time he almost ran for president: Christie declined jumping in the 2012 presidential race despite the urging of donors and some voters. “Now is not my time,” Christie told reporters in a 2011 press conference in Trenton, New Jersey. “Whether you like it or not, you’re stuck with me,” he told New Jerseyans.
How he might have hurt Romney’s White House bid: In the home stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign, President Obama and Christie visited the areas hit by Hurricane Sandy and comforted victims. During the president’s visit, Christie praised Obama for his response, which angered some Republicans who believed it cost Romney the election. Although Romney said after the election he didn’t blame Christie for his loss to Obama, few Romney allies were still bitter and anger years later with Christie.