Christie was born in Newark, New Jersey, on September 6, 1962, and grew up in Livingston, New Jersey. At Livingston high school, Christie served as his class president, and when he was 15, he began volunteering for the gubernatorial campaign of Tom Kean. Volunteering with Kean’s campaign sparked an early interest in politics for Christie, and he graduated from the University of Delaware with a political science degree in 1984.
In 1987 Christie graduated from the Seton Hall University School of Law with a Juris Doctor, and later that year, was admitted to the New Jersey State Bar Association as well as the Bar of the United States District Court, District of New Jersey. In the early 1980’s Christie joined a local law firm and was eventually made a partner, specializing in securities law, election law, and government affairs. Christie was elected to the Board of Chosen Freeholders of Morris County, New Jersey, in 1994 and was not re-elected. Following his term, Christie turned his attention back to his law practice and devoted much of his time to lobbying activities.
Christie served as George Bush jr’s campaign lawyer for New Jersey during the 2000 presidential election, and following Bush’s victory, he was appointed the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey. Chris Christie served as the top law enforcement official in New Jersey from January 2002 through December 2008. During his term as the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, Christie and his team focused on corruption and terrorism, obtaining guilty pleas from 130 public officials on charges of corruption. Brothel owners and gang members were also targeted by Christie’s legal team.
Papers were filed by Christie’s campaign on January 8, 2009, officially entering him as a gubernatorial candidate. At the New Jersey Republican primary, Christie received 55% of the votes and won the general election in November 2009 by a margin of four percentage points. He won re-election in 2013 by a large margin. As Governor, Christie promised not to increase taxes and made up for the deficit by reducing available tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. Under pension reform bills approved by Governor Christie, pension for future hires was decreased, and public employees were required to pay 1.5% of their total salaries toward their healthcare plan. Prior to his election, Christie promised to reduce the workforce and oversight of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protections, claiming that the organization is too large and hurting businesses. Governor Christie pushed for New Jersey businesses to adopt green energy solutions by offering tax credits and stimulus packages to businesses that make use of solar panels and/or wind energy. Under the Christie administration, New Jersey’s credit rating has dropped nine times, leaving it with the second-lowest credit rating in the country.
Christie announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for president on June 30, 2015. Christie did not receive any delegates at the New Hampshire primary on February 9, 2016, and suspended his campaign the following day. Later, he endorsed Donald Trump and was named head of his transition planning team. Christie was a close ally of Trump during his presidency but later emerged as a harsh critic following the January 6 Capitol attack.
In January 2018, Christie joined ABC News as a regular network contributor. He published a book titled Let Me Finish in 2019. Also, that year, he was selected for the Sports Betting Hall of Fame in recognition of his role in New Jersey’s successful effort to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, the U.S. federal law banning single-game sports betting outside Nevada.
Christie registered as a lobbyist in June 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic he was paid $240,000 for lobbying on behalf of a Tennessee-based chain of addiction treatment centers and three New Jersey hospital systems seeking federal funding.
In 2021, Christie joined the board of directors of the New York Mets.
Christie announced his second presidential campaign for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election on June 6, 2023.
In 1986, Christie married Mary Pat Foster, a fellow student at the University of Delaware. They have four children.
In April 2012, Governor Christie went to Israel on a four-day trade and diplomacy mission, accompanied by a delegation of 14 business and Jewish leaders. Christie said, “This is my first visit abroad as governor, and there was never any question of where we would come first, so I’m glad we did.”
Christie signed S-1923 into law on August 16, 2016, requiring the state’s public worker pension funds to divest from companies that engage in boycotts of Israel
U.S. - Israel Relationship
- “Every day we need to stand with the only democracy in the Middle East with Israel and stand against the terrorism of Iran, all across the world. Because whether you’re talking about Iran, or whether you’re talking about those who aspire to this in our country, authoritarian dictators only want one thing — they just want one more chance to fool the crowd one more time.”
(Speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition, C-SPAN, November 21, 2022)
- “I want to have Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu here, by himself, at Camp David for a long weekend. And I want to say to the Prime Minister that in the first evening together is dedicated for allowing him to vent about what it has been like over the last number of years... If you’re in Israel right now, you are very concerned, rightfully so, about what is the nature of that continued support.”
(Jewish Insider, January 7, 2016)
- “The protection of the state of Israel has to be a top priority of the president of the United States of America.”
(Bloomberg, July 16, 2015)
- “Our friends in Israel deserve better than what they’ve gotten in the last seven years from this White House.”
(PBS, June 1, 2015)
- “Our commitment to Israel must be absolute. Israel is a beacon of freedom in a sea of autocracy and our friendship should be unshakable. Over the last few years this administration has taken our Israeli partners for granted, and it is shameful how the president has treated them. Israel and its people must be supported by the United States and the American president - its existence and its security is non-negotiable, and the Iranians and others who think otherwise must be reminded by America of that simple fact.”
(Algemeiner, May 20, 2015)
- “Iran will never get a nuclear weapon under my watch even if it means we need to use American military force to prevent it -- never, ever, ever. Iran will also not get another meeting with the United States, let alone any further agreements, until they recognize Israel’s right to exist. What they need to publicly acknowledge is -- the Supreme leader needs to acknowledge -- that Israel has a right to exist.”
(Speech, Nashua, New Hampshire, February 1, 2016)
- “Our relationship with Iran is complicating our capability to put together an incorporated coalition to fight ISIS. Add to that the Iranian nuclear capabilities; add to that the Iranian sponsorship of terrorism; add to that the Iranian attitude towards Israel; and add the that the Iranian’s goal of a persian empire - you add that up and Iran is simple an enormous threat. And above that, the ISIS threat becomes worse because it is much harder for us, given the way the administration is treating Iran, for us to be able to put together U.S. allies and Sunni-Arab allies to fight ISIS.”
(Jewish Insider, January 7, 2016)
- “We will not have an agreement, a handshake or meet with anyone of the Iranian government until they recognize the right of Israel to exist.”
(Jewish Insider, December 20, 2015)
- “He lied to the American people. He put his entire support of this agreement, as you heard yesterday, on verification. We’re not trusting anybody, and he said that we have 24/7 access to Iran’s nuclear facilities, and that we could inspect anytime, anywhere. Every reading of this agreement shows that all Iran has to do to stop inspections is ask.”
(Bloomberg, July 16, 2015)
- “If I’m saddled with the deal as president, then on the first day I’ll be saying to my national security advisor, to my Secretary of State and to my head of national intelligence: give me all the information I need to let me know all the options I have to try to put this genie back in the bottle, and then we’ll make a decision.”
(Time, July 4, 2015)
- “How can we sit and negotiate the future of the Iranians’ weaponry without Israel and their neighbors at the table?”
(Philadelphia Inquirer, May 28, 2015)
*AICE does not rate or endorse any candidate for political office.
Sources: “Chris Christie,” Wikipedia.
Maddie Hanna, “Christie raps Obama on Iran and Israel,” Philadelphia Inquirer, (May 28, 2015).
“Chris Christie: US Commitment to Israel ‘Must be Absolute,’” Algemeiner, (May 20, 2015).
“GOP, Democrats differ on priorites as 2016 campaign takes off,” PBS, (June 1, 2015).
Zeke J. Miller, “Christie Won't Pledge to Undo Iran Deal,” Time, (July 4, 2015).
Elise Young, “Chris Christie Says Obama ‘Lied’ to America About Iran Deal,” Bloomberg, (July 16, 2015).
“Christie: ‘No Handshake’ with Iranians Until They Recognize Israel’s Existence,” Jewish Insider, (December 20, 2015).
“Christie: Weekend with Bibi at Camp David,” Jewish Insider, January 7, 2016).
Speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition, C-SPAN, (November 21, 2022)