Christie family day at the beach circa 1972
Chris Christie told his teacher that he would be President one day as they were standing by the flag pole in front of his elementary school back in the day. He made good on that promise early on – he was class President from 9th through 12th grade.
Christie, far right, Prez of 12th Grade at Livington HS
Parting words to classmates in 1980
But his early efforts in the real world of politics were not quite as charmed.
His first bid for office came in 1993 when he ran for the New Jersey senate. His candidacy lasted just 9 days. He was removed from the ballot for failing to get the required number of valid signatures in order to legitimately challenge the sitting Senate leader, Republican John Dorsey.
In 1994 he set the bar a little lower and ran for a Morris County Freeholder position. After an extremely nasty primary campaign in which he accused fellow republican incumbents of lying outright to the public and withholding information about a range of important issues, he eventually won the seat. The primary campaign was so bitter, however, that three of his opponents, Cecilia Laureys, Edward Tamm and Frank Druetzler, filed a defamation suit against Christie that was later settled out of court. Laureys openly compared Christie to Nazi propagandist Joseph Geobbels. Ouch.
Inspired by this very fresh win, he jumped the gate after being seated as a freeholder only three months and ran for state assembly. He was denied and his failed bid was, again, a very bitter experience for all involved.
Serving out his 3 year term as freeholder, he bombed miserably in his re-election bid with a last place finish. After this humiliation he vowed to get out of elected politics all together... and also sued his opponents from the 1994 freeholder primary.
It’s actually difficult to get a handle on all the many defamation suits that he has filed and others have filed against him in his career to this point. Suffice to say there have been more than a few. One notable and very public suit that took place during his tenure as Freeholder caused such a ruckus that the public got involved and denied Christie’s use of any public funds for his defense and he paid out of his own pocket.
Lobbying for a Living
After the Freeholder re-election defeat Christie returned to full time lawyering in 1998 at his firm Dughi, Hewitt & Palatucci primarily working as a lobbyist.
Bill Palatucci is a long time friend and ally of Christie’s and is responsible for much of his success and advancement in the political world. (It will be interesting to see if Palatucci’s name surfaces at all in the GWB debacle.) While he holds no official title in the Christie administration, he is the unofficial chief of staff and Christie’s primary confidante and advisor.
During his lobbying days with Dughi, Hewitt & Palatucci
Palatucci’s connections among major GOP players are what eventually led to Christie’s role as a top fundraiser for the Bush Cheney campaign in 2000 and the eventual prize for all of his hard work – an appointment by Bush as US Attorney for New Jersey on December 7, 2001. This was despite any prior real world experience as a prosecuting attorney, and the appointment was criticized by some as pure favoritism. Bill Palatucci took public credit for Christie’s major advancement since he was the one who gave Karl Rove Christie’s resume personally.
Christie’s background check for the position conducted by the FBI revealed organized crime relations on his maternal side, but such ties have never become an issue Christie has had to confront directly.
Christie in 2003 as US Attorney for New Jersey
Seated comfortably in a prime position in New Jersey, Christie finally had a prominent position that connected him to major players in the national GOP machine and made the most of it until his tenure ended in 2008. We know much of the rest of the story. He won his bid for Governor against Jon Corzine in 2009 and recently won re-election.
In 2009 as Governor
Now embroiled in scandal, one thing has become clear to me. In Christie's past dalliances, defeats and victories, lie many revealing clues that shed light on his current problems and potential misfortunes. He has screwed alot of people along his way - many in his own party. He has acted a bully, despite his protestations otherwise. He has engaged in questionable practices in making his way to where he is and now exposed, he may not be able to hide from the things he has done and the people he has stepped on. He may have to employ some of the tactics he learned on the baseball field as a catcher - because clearly some shit is getting thrown his way that he may not be able to duck and cover from. Good thing he's working on getting back to his fighting weight!
sources: NJ.com, Chris Christie: The Inside Story of His Rise to Power by Bob Ingle & Michael Symons, Star Ledger.com