Governor Chris Christie (R) says New Jersey voters made the wrong decision last month regarding the casino expansion ballot question they overwhelmingly refuted on November 8.
Cohosting the “Boomer and Carton” radio program this week on CBS New York, Christie said the results of the Garden State referendum was a “dumb move.” The former presidential candidate explained that lobbyists and unions working on behalf of casinos in Atlantic City and New York were able to successfully sway voters to their side in rejecting gambling expansion in New Jersey.
If the ballot question had passed, two casino resorts costing a minimum of $1 billion each would have been constructed at least 72 miles outside of Atlantic City. But the expanded gambling measure received just 22.5 percent support from New Jerseyans, a far cry from the required majority needed to pass the state constitutional amendment.
In addition to Christie, State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-District 3), one of the most powerful individuals in the state, also supported the referendum. New Jersey would have directed the majority of tax revenue generated from the two northern casinos to revitalizing Atlantic City.
“They do not want casino-style gaming spread in other parts of the state,” Christie said. “It’s that simple. That’s why I’m going for sports gambling.”
New Jersey and five other states are currently petitioning the US Supreme Court to hear its sports betting case that has been ruled against by lower courts.
Christie isn’t known for his calm and quiet demeanor. Once a GOP favorite, Christie’s reputation has plummeted recently due to his alleged role, or at the very least handling, of the so-called “Bridgegate” scandal.
In 2013, Christie staff members and political appointees ordered the lane closures of two of three onramps to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey. The closures forced heavy traffic backups.
The operations was reportedly ordered to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich (D) after he refused to endorse Christie during his reelection campaign. The “Bridgegate” investigation was still ongoing during the 2016 primary campaign, and many believe the controversy ultimately closed Christie’s White House aspirations.
The scandal continues to hamper Christie’s reputation. Political observers believe the public embarrassment was why Christie was passed over to become President-elect Donald Trump’s running mate, and also cost him the cabinet position of US attorney general.
However, reports surfaced this week that Trump did indeed offer Christie the roles of either secretary of Homeland Security or Veterans Affairs, but the governor turned both down.
Lesniak and Christie Face Off
One of the architects of online gambling in New Jersey and a former gubernatorial candidate, State Sen. Ray Lesniak (R-District 20) says it’s time for Christie to leave Trenton. During his monthly radio show, Lesniak said Christie, who is reportedly writing a book, needs to resign.
Christie is thought to be working behind closed doors with certain legislative members to change a state law that bans sitting governors from making money outside of their annual salary.
“The Legislature should not change the law to benefit the governor who has been missing in action for years while he pursued his political ambitions leaving the state rudderless,” Lesniak opined.
There will be no love lost between Christie and Lesniak. Last month, Christie called Lesniak a “crazy quack.”