Chris Christie steamroller hits home-state hurdles

The four weeks since Christie routed his weak Democratic opponent to win a second term show how easily troubles in New Jersey can undermine the national image Christie is trying to project. Hispanic officials in New Jersey accused Christie of flip–flopping on a bill that would allow in-state tuition rates for illegal immigrants. And he tried, but failed, to oust the Republican minority leader of the state Senate, who happens to be the son of a close ally.

The home-grown headlines of late – a potpourri of potential political complications and hints of criticism that the governor represents a party of one, himself – suggest rough sledding ahead for Christie.

His mentor, former Republican Gov. Tom Kean, publicly expressed disappointment with Christie for covertly trying to oust his son, Tom Kean Jr., as state Senate Minority Leader, in a coup attempt. Making matter worse, the move was widely seen as the Republican governor doing a favor for Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney.

The elder Kean suggested in an interview that Christie’s political skills are about to be tested at a new level. “If you think how often the frontrunner at this point has gotten the nomination,” he said, “it’s very seldom.”