Guadagno gets her moment to shine
Now that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is focusing his efforts on winning the Republican presidential nomination, he will likely be be spending less time in the Garden State. As a result, Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno will likely increase her public appearance schedule across the state.
Guadagno, who's been mentioned as a possible GOP gubernatorial candidate in 2017, is New Jersey's first lieutentant governor. She also serves as secretary of state, overseeing the state's $40 billion tourism industry, while also functioning as primary business ambassador for the Christie administration.
If Guadagno's aspiration is to one day be governor, this opportunity could help her become more visible throughout the state.
"The fact is most of the public, even six years into the Christie administration, have no clue who Kim Guadagno is," said Ben Dworkin, political science professor at Rider University.
With Christie off campaigning, Dworkin said Guadagno will have a chance to emerge "out of a shadow of a dominating governor like Chris Christie." More people will get to see her in public and hear her voice.
Dworkin said the moment Christie announced he was running for president, it was sort of the launch of the Republican primary for who's going to be taking over as the GOP standard-bearer in 2017.
"Kim Guadagno certainly is one of the people who is going to be considered for that kind of role," Dworkin said.
And while Guadagno is certainly not nearly as visible as Christie, she does have a lot in her arsenal. "She's articulate, she's smart, she is sharp, she knows how to play hardball which you need to know if you're going to succeed in New Jersey politics," Dworkin said.
In terms of issues, Dworkin said she has been a loyal supporter of the Christie administration, and whether that helps or hurts her remains to be seen as we move toward the next gubernatorial election.
"For years, Guadagno has been meeting with many different movers and shakers all over the Garden State - whether they're ethnic, religious or business leaders," Dworkin said. "I think those relationships will certainly help her, but she needs to now expand that circle."
Prior to becoming lieutenant governor, Guadagno served as Monmouth County Sheriff. She began her public service career as a federal prosecutor with the Organized Crime and Racketeering Strike Force in Brooklyn, New York.
To learn more about Guadango's professional career and background, click here.