Will Jeff Chiesa Be an Extension of Chris Christie in Washington? [AUDIO]
The suspense is officially over. Yesterday, Gov. Chris Christie appointed State Attorney General Jeff Chiesa to the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by Frank Lautenberg's death.
Chiesa will be a placeholder since he said he has no intention of running for the office in the October 's special election.
Christie and Chiesa have worked together for over two decades and are good friends.
"There are very few people in my life that I know better than Jeff and I have enormous respect and admiration for him and his integrity and his honesty and his ability. Obviously I have a unique view into him because I've known him since he was a brand new layer 22 years ago and we've been together much of the time since then. I've appointed somebody who I have great faith and confidence in and someone who I know almost as well as I know my own family," said Christie.
The closeness between Christie and Chiesa have some believing that Chiesa will simply be an extension of Christie in Washington. Both men disagree with that.
Chiesa said he's his own man. "I'll use my best judgment and the skill that I have to conduct myself in a way that I hope will make everybody in New Jersey proud."
Christie said anybody who knows Chiesa knows that he's got a mind of his own and always has, and that's one of the reasons why he values their friendship so much.
"If he calls me and asks me, 'hey, there's a vote for cloture on the following bill, what do you think I should do?' I'm going to hang up. I've got enough to do here. He wouldn't make that call, but if he did, I'd tell him, 'do what you think is right. That's what I sent you down there for,' and I think that's exactly what he'll do," said Christie.
In 1991, Christie hired Chiesa to work in his law firm. The two have been together pretty much since then. Chiesa was an Assistant U.S. Attorney. Christie was his boss. He was also the Governor's chief counsel before becoming the Attorney General.
A conservative Republican is how Chiesa described himself. He said he's his own man and he'll stay that way when he gets to Washington.
Christie expects Chiesa's first day in the U.S. Senate to be Monday.