Christie – ‘There has been no final decision made by me’ on 2016 election
Despite speculation from various sources that Gov. Chris Christie plans to announce his intentions to seek a spot on the 2016 presidential ballot, the governor said Thursday that he still hasn’t decided if he will throw his hat into the ring.
“When I decide, I’ll let everybody know, " Christie said Thursday night on Townsquare Media's June edition of "Ask The Governor" on NJ 101.5.
After months of speculation, multiple sources have reporting that Christie will announce plans to seek the Republican nomination for president on Tuesday.
"First of all, I said I’d make the decision this month, I didn’t say I’d announce it," Christie told Host Eric Scott early in the show.
Christie said he wouldn't make any official decision or announcement until work is done on the state budget, which is in the process of being finalized.
"Let’s get through tonight and work on the budget, and then I’ll make a decision.
There’s been absolutely no final decision made by me," Christie said, adding that he plans to review the budget and veto a number of increases.
Earlier Thursday, sources revealed that Christie was set to announce his candidacy at Livingston High School where he graduated in 1980. He served as president of the Livingston High School Student Government Association during his sophomore, junior and senior years. The governor recently attended his 35-year class reunion. Following his appearance at his alma mater, Christie will reportedly head to New Hampshire for another "announcement." He will remain through the July 4 weekend.
“It’s best for him to grab the limelight while he can. He’s gets to tie up the budget and he gets the opportunity to veto the Democratic proposals which include some tax hikes so he can swing into a presidential announcement with the budget behind him and claim the moral high ground of pushing off tax hikes in New Jersey,” said Peter Woolley, a political science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Despite the reports, Christie continued to maintain that a decision hasn't been made.
"Let’s everybody remain calm…if there’s gonna be presidential campaign, there will be moths and months to discuss it," he said.
Christie said even if he decides against a run for a spot of the 2016 ballot, he'll still be making an announcement since speculation on a possible candidacy has been ongoing since 2010.
A CROWDED REPUBLICAN FIELD
Christie’s chief campaign strategist, Mike DuHaime, said there are a few things that would set the governor apart, should he officially decide to run in 2016.
“I think the governor has shown an ability, certainly in New Jersey that he can communicate in a way that people understand and I think his upbringing, I think the fact that he comes from a working class, middle class background has always allowed him to communicate in a way and talk about policies in a way that really connects with the average person,” DuHaime said.
DuHaime also said Christie could distinguish himself in GOP primary debates.
“He is somebody who’s a leader. He’s done real things as governor. He’s taken on very tough problems. Unlike senators who can just kind of talk about issues, he’s actually addressed them.”
CHRISTIE'S TRAVELS TO KEY STATES
Speculation over a possible run for president in 2016 has also been fueled by Christie's recent trips to key states such as New Hampshire and Iowa. During this visits, Christie has unveiled an economic plan for the country, which includes a plan to overhaul Social Security. He has also weighed in on several of the top issues facing the country like college affordability, the legalization of marijuana and gun control.
In 2012, Christie was courted to run for the White House. He admitted that he wasn't ready at that time. Home Depot owner Ken Langone is one of the big money backers who has been in the governor's presidential corner for several years.
WHAT THE POLLS ARE SHOWING
The news of Christie's announcement comes a day after he saw his worst poll numbers ever.
"Fifty-five percent of voters say they disapprove of the job Chris Christie's doing as governor which is the highest disapproval number we've recorded and only three in 10 approve," said Krista Jenkins, professor of political science at FDU and director of PublicMind. "Thirty percent is the lowest we've recorded in terms of Gov. Christie's approvals since we began polling on him."
Christie's approval numbers were in the upper 60 percentile just after Superstorm Sandy, but plummeted last year when the Bridgegate scandal broke. His approvals stabilized early this year, but dipped this month again.
CHRISTIE'S PENSION WIN
A possible announcement also comes on the heels of a significant pension win for the governor. Earlier this month, New Jersey’s top court sided with Christie in the ongoing battle over public worker pension funds. The Supreme Court overturned a lower-court judge’s order requiring the governor and the Democratic-controlled Legislature to work out a way to increase pension contributions for this fiscal year, ending June 30.
Christie will be the first New Jersey governor since Woodrow Wilson to seek the White House.