Best Known For
Chris Christie is best known for his combative style as the Republican governor of traditionally Democratic New Jersey.
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After building up a reputation as a capable and fair-minded prosecutor through more than six years in the United States Attorney's office, Chris Christie began contemplating a return to electoral politics. Resigning from office in December 2008, Christie filed papers to run for governor in January 2009. Despite a rising tide of uncompromisingly conservative Tea Party activism at the national level, in moderate New Jersey,
Christie easily won the primary election against his more conservative Republican rivals.
Running on a more socially conservative platform than he had in his freeholder days, but still distinguishing himself from the more combative Tea Party base, Christie defeated the unpopular incumbent Democratic governor Jon Corzine—who had been dogged by allegations of widespread corruption—with a relatively comfortable margin of 49-to-45 percent of the vote.
As a Republican at the head of a relatively liberal state and working with a Democratic legislature, Christie has won national acclaim for his ability to move legislation forward and to win over constituents, despite agreeing that he is about "as slick as sandpaper." Christie's tenure as governor was not all smooth sailing, however; his long-running battle with powerful and relatively popular teachers' unions mobilized strong opposition to many of his policies.
Despite some early setbacks, however, Chris Christie remains a popular figure in New Jersey. As the 2012 presidential election neared, many political observers nationwide considered Christie a strong candidate for the Republican Party. The governor downplayed such expectations, however. "I'm a kid from Jersey who has people asking him to run for president," he said. "I'm thrilled by it. I just don't want to do it."
When Mitt Romney was selected as the Republican Party's presidential candidate, Christie's name was bandied about as a possible running mate. Romney chose Paul Ryan for the spot, however, and the Republican candidates eventually lost the election to Democratic incumbents President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
In any case, Christie is clearly an important member of the Republican Party. He was the keynote speaker at the Republican Convention on August 28, 2012. There, he spoke about the responsibility of U.S. citizens to be politically active, and to remember their freedoms as well as their roots, stating, "We are the great-grandchildren of the men and women who broke their backs in the name of American ingenuity, the grandchildren of the greatest generation, the sons and daughters of immigrants, the brothers and sisters of everyday heroes, the neighbors of entrepreneurs and firefighters, teachers and farmers, veterans and factory workers and everyone in between who shows up, not just on the big days, or the good days, but on the bad days, and the hard days. Each and every day. All 365 of them."
Long known for his weight, reportedly weighing more than 300 pounds in 2012, Christie announced in May 2013 that he had lost 40 pounds—the result of undergoing weight loss surgery three months earlier.
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