New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has officially become a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Christie made the announcement at a launch event held in his old high school Governor Livingston High School in New Jersey on Tuesday morning, June 30, 2015. It was there Christie won his first major political position as class president, in the school’s gymnasium he shared his launch with “family members, childhood friends and longtime supporters.” Christie first announced his candidacy earlier in the morning through an email to supporters. The New Jersey Governor is the 14th Republican to declare their candidacy.
The New Jersey governor delivered an unscripted, but combative speech, where his “biography and personality” and New Jersey roots took center stage. Christie recounted what brought him to this moment, saying, “I have spent the last 13 years of my life, as U.S. attorney and governor of this state, fighting for fairness and justice and opportunity for the people of the state of New Jersey. That fight has not made me more weary. It has made me stronger, and I am now ready to fight for the people of the United States of America.”
In full attack mode Christie announced his plans to run for president, “America is tired of hand-wringing and indecisiveness and weakness in the Oval Office. We need to have strength and decision-making and authority back in the Oval Office, and that is why today I am proud to announce my candidacy for the Republican nomination for president of the United States of America.”
Christie now lives in Mendham, New Jersey, but has strong ties with the town he grew up. Two women introduced him, “a friend of his late mother, Sondra, and a former classmate.” Christie started his speech with that theme saying, “Everything started here for me: The confidence, the education, the friends, the family and the love that I’ve always felt for and from this community. I had to come home, and Livingston is home for me.”
Christie’s campaign slogan is “Telling it like it is” and that was a main theme of his launch speech, The NJ governor promised, “We are going to tell it like it is today so that we can create greater opportunity for every American tomorrow. The truth will set us free, everybody. I mean what I say and I say what I mean, and that’s what America needs right now.”
In his speech Christie said, “I don’t do something great every day, I’m human. But every morning, I wake up with an opportunity to do something great. That’s why this job is a great job. And that’s why president of the United States is an even greater job for a greater number of people.”
A part of that was criticizing President Barack Obama’s administration and Democrat frontrunner and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who Christie called Obama’s second mate, but also his fellow Republicans in controlling Congress. Christie pointed out, “Both parties have failed our country. Both parties have stood in the corner and held their breath and waited to get their own way. Both parties have led us to believe that in America, a country that was built on compromise, that somehow now compromise is a dirty word. If Washington and Adams and Jefferson believed compromise is a dirty word, we’d still be under the crown of England.”
Christie was once the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, the party begged him to run in 2012, he decided against it and became an early favorite for 2016. In 2013, he was reelected as governor by a landslide of 60 percent, and became the chairman of the Republican Governors Association. By 2014 however, he star was fading.
Now however, the situation has changed, with a number of scandals plaguing the governor since then. Predominately the Bridgegate scandal over a “massive lane-closure scandal at the George Washington Bridge,” which led to criminal convictions for some of his aides, but leaving the governor only tarnished because it happened during his administration.
New Jersey has other political problems and economic ones under Christie’s watch. In the most recent poll, the governor only has a 30 percent approval rating. His poll numbers in the GOP field is just as unimpressive, considered a moderate with a field full of conservatives; Christie placed ninth with only 4 percent support in the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, and only 2 percent in the latest Fox News poll.
Christie plans to head to New Hampshire to campaign where he will hold “town hall meetings and diners” and appear on Saturday’s Wolfeboro 4th of July Parade.