On Tuesday night’s edition of CNN’s Crossfire, former Virginia Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, called for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to resign as head of the Republican Governors Association. Christie took on the position of chairman of the RGA towards the end of 2013. In that position, he gets to travel across the nation and help raise funds or campaign for various Republican governors and candidates. In the end, it is a spot that would help a potential Presidential candidate.
Cuccinelli picked his words very carefully, as he wanted to make sure to state that the allegations towards Christie regarding Bridgegate and misuse and abuse of Sandy relief funds have not been found true. Instead, he made the case that all of these things are a distraction and that it would be best for Christie to step aside as, overall, this appears to be hurting the party.
“I think just from the perspective of setting aside this as an issue in other races, it makes sense for him to step aside in that role. He does not serve the goals of that organization by staying as chairman. And that doesn’t mean that any of the charges, political or otherwise are substantive or not. It doesn’t matter. Perception is reality.”
Now, it is also possible that Cuccinelli is holding a grudge towards Christie and the RGA due to his own election failure. In what turned out to be a tight race against eventual winner and current Governor Terry McAuliffe, the RGA provided quite a bit of money for Cuccinelli. However, while they sent $8 million over the course of the entire race, the spigot turned off weeks before Election Day, as Cuccinelli was far down in the polls and appeared to be a lost cause. In the end, Cuccinell lost by less than 3 points.
Regardless of Cuccinelli’s reasons behind his calls for Christie to step down, I highly doubt that he’ll be the last prominent Republican to call for Christie’s resignation from this prime post. With 36 gubernatorial races occurring this year, the last thing the GOP wants is a scandal-ridden national figure attempting to raise funds for their candidates. For his part, I doubt Christie will want to step down voluntarily, as being chairman of the RGA is a perfect vaulting point for anyone looking to make a Preisdential run.
So, in the end, what will it take for the GOP to convince Christie to step aside? Will they have to forcibly remove him? The scandals plaguing Christie are going to be swirling around him for months, if not longer. His candidacy for President in 2016 is looking less and less viable, and it is even possible that he won’t be able to hold on to his governorship when it is all said and done. How long can the GOP allow Christie to have a negative impact on other races before they have to step in and push him out?
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).