When Chris Christie dropped out of the race and went back home to New Jersey it was obvious that things were going to be less comfortable for him on the home front. There were already complaints coming from the Democrats who run the Garden State legislature about how much time he’d spent on the POTUS trail with only infrequent visits to his office in Trenton. But when Christie decided to endorse Donald Trump and head back out on the trail with him, that seemed to add a bit too much insult to injury. And now many of the newspapers in the state have ganged up and called on the Governor to simply step down. (USA Today)
Six New Jersey newspapers issued a joint editorial Tuesday calling on Gov. Chris Christie to resign in the wake of his failed presidential campaign and his subsequent endorsement of rival Donald Trump.
The six newspapers including the Asbury Park Press, the Cherry Hill Courier-Post and the Morristown Daily Record — all Gannett-owned papers that are part of the USA TODAY NETWORK — were apparently spurred to editorial outrage by a Monday press conference in which Christie refused to answer questions about anything other than his nomination of a state Supreme Court judge. Asked why, Christie replied, “Because I don’t want to.”
“We’re fed up with Gov. Chris Christie’s arrogance,” the papers wrote. “We’re fed up with his opportunism. We’re fed up with his hypocrisy.”
Given Christie’s history of dealing with critics (sit down and shut up!) in the past, I don’t think we should expect any sort of response from the Governor which doesn’t involve a one finger salute. Calling for the Governor to step down carries the same amount of legal force as pretty much any other editorial… zero. Christie can’t run for another term next time so he has very little to lose by further engendering the hatred of the local press or even the voters. So what can they really do? Some will say that the voters can bring up a recall initiative and boot him out of office. The answer to that one is technically yes, but it’s a lot more complicated than that. True, the state passed a law in 1993 allowing the voters to recall their governor without any finding of criminal wrongdoing, but it’s far from easy. The Week looked at the issue after Christie’s last election and described some of the hurdles such an effort would face.
The other issue is the overwhelming amount of signatures needed to get on the ballot. New Jersey law mandates that voters collect the signatures of 25 percent of registered voters. That’s 1,377,762 valid signatures. This is more than double what was needed in Wisconsin to get Scott Walker’s recall on the ballot. It is also almost 500,000 more signatures than were needed to get the recall of California Gov. Gray Davis on the ballot in 2003, despite the fact that California’s population then was more than 3.5 times the size of New Jersey’s today.
I’m not saying you couldn’t do it, but that’s one heck of a campaign to mount at this late date. Christie was sworn in back in January of 2014 so he’s half way through his final term. His opponents would have to hit the pavement and come up with nearly one and a half million signatures, each page of which would be challenged by the governor’s office and subject to review. Then the motion has to make it onto the ballot and find sufficient support among the same populace who twice elected him.
Is it even worth the effort? More likely, the papers are being driven to the brink of insanity by Trump’s success in the primary and are seeking to lash out at the closest target. In other words… sit down and shut up.