With a nasty blizzard heading towards New Jersey on Monday, Chris Christie declared the 15th weather-related state of emergency since he took office in January, 2010.
Utah radio station KVNU looks at five key weather-related events during Christie’s tenure:
1. The Disney World Blizzard – 2010
Christie came under fire when he stayed on vacation at Florida’s Disney World during a brutal December snowstorm, rather than coming home to lead his state’s response. His lieutenant governor Kim Guadagno was also vacationing at the time, leaving Steve Sweeney, the Democratic state Senate president, in charge.
2. “Get the hell off the beach” – 2011
Christie flaunted his signature tough-talking style when he called for a mandatory evacuation of points on the Jersey Shore in the run-up to Hurricane Irene. “Do not waste any more time working on your tan. Get off the beach, get out of your beach houses and get to safer lands,” he said, expressing frustration over news coverage of people catching rays despite severe weather warnings.
3. Sandy bipartisanship – 2012
The devastating late-October hurricane, which killed 117 people per a CDC analysis and destroyed thousands of homes, will likely remain one of the most defining periods in Christie’s administration.
Politically, it was memorable in part because Christie warmly welcomed President Obama to tour storm damage on the Jersey Shore, praising him for his rapid mobilization of federal assets and coordination with the state. While Christie’s overture earned him bipartisan praise for seeming to put politics aside in the interest of his state (and some state polls had his approval rating soaring) he upset many national Republicans, some of whom later suggested his harmony with the president might have contributed to Romney’s ballot box loss just four days later. Iowa political operative Doug Gross was quoted by the New York Times as saying it might hurt Christie with Iowa caucus voters, who, Gross said, “don’t forget things like this.”
4. Swiping at other leaders – 2010, 2012
Christie has never shied from defending himself against criticism, especially coming from fellow tri-state leaders over his response to a storm.
After former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani tweaked Christie for staying in Florida during a 2010 blizzard (see #1), the New Jersey governor shot back on Fox News. “It’s easy when you are out of office to be shooting from the peanut gallery when you no longer have any responsibility, but I have a responsibility to my family…I’m just going to chalk it off to a bad morning for the mayor. Maybe he didn’t have a good breakfast or something like that,” Christie said
5. Canceling the party – 2014, 2015
Perhaps as a result of the backlash over his Disney trip in 2010, Christie has recently bowed out of several political events due to winter storms.
The governor canceled his own re-election celebration in January 2014 over concerns that bad weather could lead to road hazards. He also skipped ceremonies in Ohio and Illinois this month as part of a tour congratulating Republican governors.