If Governor Chris Christie was still popular in New Jersey, or Washington, the New Jersey press corps would be pushing a narrative that Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno “is no Chris Christie.”
But Christie is less popular in New Jersey than Andrew Weiner is with Hillary Clinton supporters. Thus the narrative is that Guadagno has been Christie’s second in command and has stood behind him (literally and figuratively) for seven years while New Jersey’s economy has remained stagnant, our credit rating downgraded continuously, and traffic was a mess in Fort Lee for a few days in 2013.
Thus, as Guadagno is running to replace Christie next January, she has to show New Jersey voters that she is no Chris Christie while threading a needle to avoid Christie’s famously vindictive wrath. That’s a difficult endeavor.
Christie has announced that he will have the executive wing of the State House renovated, at a cost of $300 million in debt that has not been approved by New Jersey’s voters. Guadagno has characterized the project as “the Palace of Versailles” that we don’t need, especially when we’re in a fiscal crisis with so many other priorities to fund.
Politico-New Jersey reports that Christie has responded to the criticism by kicking Guadagno and her staff in the Secretary of State’s Office (she doubles as the Secretary of State) four days before nominating petitions for candidates for each seat in the legislature, as well as gubernatorial candidates, are due to be filed, processed and certified by the office. Christie and his staff will take over Guadagno’s offices; to accommodate the renovation is his offices, while she and her staff will move to vacant state offices a few blocks away in Trenton. The move is to be complete by March 31, per Christie’s order. The petitions, over 245 of them with tens of thousands of signatures are due in the new offices of the Secretary of State on April 4.
Guadagno’s new digs has only one men’s room and one women’s room to accommodate a staff of more than 130 employees, plus hundreds of people who think they are really important who will show up to file their papers on April 4.
Guadagno has to manage a move and make sure her new offices are set up and her staff prepared to execute one of their most important duties, flawlessly, immediately after the move. There will be no time for a “soft opening” to work the bugs out. She has to do this during the month before her own nominating petition is due for Governor while competing for “the Party line” on the primary ballot in 21 counties.
To make matters worse, Christie and Guadagno are now apparently communicating through the press. Guadagno expressed a concern to Politico about the moving the historic archives that are preserved in her office. Christie’s spokesman responded to Politico that the archives are not being moved.
Christie should do the right thing and delay the move until the end of July, when nothing is happening in Trenton and after the primaries have been completed and certified.