Governor Christie announced the following personnel changes today during a press conference:
- His current Chief of Staff Kevin O’Dowd will serves as N.J. Attorney General pending approval of the State Senate. The position has lacked a permanent chief since Jeff Chiesa left Trenton to serve as Frank Lautenberg’s interim replacement in the U.S. Senate.
- Regina Egea, Director of the Authorities Unit, will replace O’Dowd. Amy Cradic, a senior policy adviser to the the Big Guy, will now serve as the new Deputy COS for Policy.
His other major front office players are remaining in place for now.
In other news, the Governor addressed a host of different items including a NY Post report alleging that he had promised New York’s Governor Cuomo that he wasn’t supporting Rob Astorino.
Christie said his conversations with the potential GOP candidate were limited to the effect of campaigns and elected office on children; the Governor said the RGA will support the ultimate nominee but also cautioned that the RGA doesn’t get involved with “lost causes or landslides.”
Governor Chris Christie had harsh words for Chris Brown and John Amodeo, the assemblymen from LD2, the former of whom criticized the gubernatorial campaign effort for its lack of coattails on Harry Hurley’s radio program last week before walking back his words a bit later in the day. The Governor denied cutting an Election 2013 political “deal” with South Jersey Party Boss George Norcross III and said both LD2 incumbents (the latter of whom lost by 38 votes) should cite the $175k left in their campaign account for the loss and not him.
Christie then attempted to clarify his position pertaining to the DREAM Act. In brief, the Governor reiterated his support for a “tuition equality” bill but not legislation that would turn New Jersey into a “magnet state” by offering benefits relatively more generous than neighboring states.
While starting that both Tom Kean, Jr. and Kevin O’Toole were both “good friends,” Governor Christie refused to go any further and provide insight into his involvement other than that he gave his “opinion” when asked. Governor Christie expressed disappointment at the complete lack of GOP net legislative gains in November but defended his campaign’s overall campaign strategy (see above), and he further asserted his belief that winning in New Jersey for Republicans is always uphill.
Finally, after doubling-down on his desire for a state income tax cut, Christie told reporters that President Obama needs to quit “dodging” on Obamacare’s “you can keep your doctor” lie. He also added that he disagreed with Chief Justice John Roberts’s classification of the Obamacare mandate as a “tax”; Christie believes it’s unconstitutional.
The Guv touched on a number of other issues (including his refusal to back any broader legalization of pot in New Jersey beyond medical usages) but, when asked for a 2013 recap of potential regrets, he described the soon-to-be-concluded year as one of the most challenging in his life without getting into specifics.