Any hopes New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie might have had about home-state controversies fading into the past now seem dashed by a new, Texas-sized headache.
Christie, a potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate, is facing criticism about him and family members attending several Dallas Cowboy football games as a guest of team owner Jerry Jones.
Beyond ethics questions about an elected official accepting free tickets, New Jersey residents are giving Christie a giant raspberry for rooting against local favorites the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants, who play home games in the Garden State.
The new controversy follows a list of grievances about Christie’s efforts at home while he keeps an ambitious travel schedule, which last year as chairman of the Republican Governors Association included several trips to Iowa, host of the first presidential caucus.
Records show the second-term governor in 2014 spent 152 days outside of the state, or about 40 percent of the year.
During that period, investor services companies downgraded the state’s credit rating three times and a total of eight times during Christie’s administration.
“It’s an issue,” Republican strategist Bradley Blakeman recently told Fox News. “The people elected him to run New Jersey, not to run the Republican Governors Association … and not to dip his toe in the presidential waters.”
As a Republican who could win elected office in the Northeast, Christie captured the full attention of the Republican establishment and others in the national political scene after winning the governorship in 2009.
Before long, the tough-talking Christie was being mentioned as a potential presidential candidate. His efforts in the aftermath of devastating SuperStorm Sandy only added to his popularity, with supporters and critics alike lauding him for putting New Jersey residents before politics when worked along side Obama on the recovery effort.