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How Long will Christie Remain Governor?

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he expects to decide whether he’ll seek the Republican nomination for president after the November elections, but if he does throw his hat into the ring, he might not remain governor for much longer after making an announcement.

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Gov. Chris Christie at the 2012 Republican National Convention
Mark Wilson, Getty Images

Dr. Brigid Harrison, professor of political science at Montclair State University, believes it would be in Christie’s best interests to resign as governor for a couple of reasons: One, running for president would take a tremendous amount of time and he would want to focus all of his attention on it, and two, the Garden State has an ongoing budget mess.

“While he’s trying to get primary voters to vote for him, he doesn’t want his opponents out there reminding those voters about the sad state of affairs in the state of New Jersey,” Harrison said.

Not only is the state seeing huge revenue shortfalls every year, Harrison said, but we also see “a reliance on these one-shot revenue deals. We’re also seeing this ongoing struggle about pension and benefits.”

She added Christie’s decision about resigning will ultimately rest on his assessment of his chances of success.

“If he thinks he’s actually going to be able to get the nomination and then actually win the Presidency,” Harrison said, “I think he’s much more likely to resign than if he’s just sticking his toe in the water.”

If Christie does eventually run and resign, there will not be a special election to replace him.

“Lieutenant governor Kim Guadagno will fulfill the remaining unexpired term until a new governor is elected, and of course she herself would not be precluded from running,” Harrison said.

She also said the Bridgegate scandal does not appear to be the kind of major negative factor that would derail a Christie campaign, because while it’s gotten a lot of attention in New Jersey, “I don’t think that resonates as much with primary voters in, say, Iowa or New Hampshire.”

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