Chris Christie isn’t even the most controversial figure to enter the tightly packed Republican party vote-off, but he’s joined a cast of characters who, if nothing else, are certainly colorful and outspoken, and in that vein, the New Jersey governor should fit right in.
Republican voters certainly won’t complain about having a lack of choices in the 2016 presidential campaign, either. On Tuesday, Christie became the latest to enter the race for the GOP nomination, joining a field that now includes more than a dozen serious candidates.
“When I stand up on a stage like this in front of all of you there is one thing you will know for sure: I mean what I say and I say what I mean,” Christie told a crowd of about 1,000 supporters at the high school he graduated from in Livingston, New Jersey.
“And unlike some people who offer themselves for the presidency in 2016, you’re not going to have to wonder whether I can do it or not.”
Bridge Scandal Hurt Christie’s Chances
Christie was once considered a potential front-runner for the GOP bid. But the so-called “Bridgegate” scandal, in which some of his top aides authorized closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge in order to spite a local mayor, damaged his reputation.
That fallout, along with some relatively moderate views on social issues, have caused him to drop out of the top tier of his party’s contenders. While Christie typically appears in the top ten in national polls of Republican voters (a critical position for access to some televised debates), he rarely polls above four percent, putting him well behind frontrunners like former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
For those with an interest in the world of gambling, however, Christie may be in intriguing option. As governor, he has spent significant time and resources on attempts to revitalize Atlantic City, including engaging in legal battles in with the goal of legalizing sports betting in New Jersey.
He also presides over the largest online gambling marketplace in the United States, overcoming early skepticism to eventually endorse online casino games and poker for Atlantic City’s casinos.
Jindal in Race Too
Also joining the race in the last week was Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Like Christie, Jindal was once considered a rising GOP star with a serious chance to someday become president. However, his popularity has fallen steadily over the last eight years, and he barely registers in national polling, with only about one percent of Republican voters pledging their support to him.
The last decade has seen Jindal increasingly take strong, hard-line conservative positions, and his views on gambling have been no exception. He has routinely opposed expanded gambling in Louisiana, and once penned a guest column for the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling supporting efforts to ban Internet gambling in the United States.
Trump Campaign Hits New Highs and Lows
Donald Trump’s campaign picked up some momentum after he announced his candidacy, though it is hard to tell if this is a temporary bump because of his name recognition or a real jump into the upper tier of contenders in the party. However, Trump has certainly been making headlines since entering the race, if not for the reasons he wants to.
Both NBC and Univision made the decision to cut ties with Trump and stop airing the Miss USA and Miss Universe beauty pageants, following comments made by Trump about Mexican immigrants in his campaign launch speech.
In that address, Trump said that Mexican immigrants are “bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people,” as part of a segment in which he called for building a wall on the US border with Mexico.
In reaction to the decision, Trump said he would consider suing the networks. He also levied some harsh words at NBC.
“They will stand behind lying Brian Williams, but won’t stand behind people that tell it like it is, as unpleasant as that may be,” Trump said.