Home / Politics / Christie dismisses questions on NJ politics while on the RGA campaign trail – The Star

Christie dismisses questions on NJ politics while on the RGA campaign trail – The Star

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Gov. Chris Christie is New Jersey’s governor, but he says he doesn’t talk Garden State politics while touring the country as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

Pressed during a public appearance today while stumping for a GOP gubernatorial hopeful in Arkansas about whether he intends to nominate his chief of staff as the state’s next attorney general, Christie refused to entertain the question.

“I’m not answering questions about that,” he responded when asked about bumping his chief of staff, Kevin O’Dowd, over to the state’s Office of the Attorney General.

“I can’t believe you traveled all the way to Little Rock to ask me questions about New Jersey politics,” he said. “You can ask me New Jersey political questions anytime you want.”

Christie announced more than eight months ago that he intended to nominate O’Dowd to be the state’s next attorney general. However, the George Washington Bridge lane closure controversy that rocked his administration put the brakes on the appointment.

In July, the governor told reporters he was prepared to talk to his chief of staff about whether O’Dowd was still interested in the position.

“We’ll see what happens,” he said during a news conference in Keansburg. “My desire is for Kevin to be the attorney general, but the fact of the matter is that Kevin’s got a choice in this as well. He’s got to decide whether he wants to do it.”

Christie made the comments on July 7 and said he planned to talk to O’Dowd about it later that day.

But the appointment was never made.

Several senators on the Judiciary Committee, which must approve the nomination before being voted on by the full Senate, said this week that O’Dowd would likely win confirmation – including the chairman of the Democratic-controlled committee, Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union).

However, lawmakers speculated that a hearing on O’Dowd would provide Democrats with a chance to question him on the lane closure scandal, highlighting the controversy as Christie tries to get past it.

“I think he would” get through,” said Scutari, adding, “No doubt it would be a tough hearing.”

Christie has spent all or part of more than 70 days out of state since being sworn into his second term in January. The bulk of the trips have been for the RGA.

The out-of-state trips are often accompanied by an opportunity for reporters to ask the governor questions.

Christie has had five in-state press conferences since April, but he’s held 17 around the country during that same period.

The governor is slated to hold a press conference Thursday during a public appearance in Sea Bright.


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