The prospects for a second New Jersey governor being elected president of the U.S., exactly one hundred years after the first

Jim C. writes:

Ann Coulter says Gov. Christie would be Barry’s worst nightmare. I think she’s right.

LA replies:

While I, like others, have been very favorably impressed by Christie, the immediate thought that arises regarding a Christie presidential campaign is that it’s too soon. He became governor in January 2010, and would have to start campaigning for president in early 2011, after having been governor for just one year.

But look at it this way. Woodrow Wilson was elected governor of New Jersey in 1910, took office in January 1911, was nominated in mid 1912, and was elected president of the U.S. in November 1912. Thus he made himself available for the nomination just a little over a year after he became governor. That would seem to remove the practical objection to a Christie candidacy.

Until 1954, New Jersey governors served a three year term; now they are elected in odd-numbered years for a four year term. Thus Christie was elected in November 2009 and was sworn into office in January 2010. This means that by the time of the 2012 Republican convention, he will have been governor for two and one half years. When Wilson was nominated in 1912, he had been governor for just one and one half years. That makes a Christie candidacy seem more plausible than Wilson’s. However, the two men’s situations are equalized by the fact that presidential candidates today have to spend a year actively campaigning in primaries. And there’s a further factor that puts Christie at a positive disadvantage in comparison with Wilson. For Christie to run (a process that would occupy him from around January 2011, or soon thereafter, to November 2012) would require his effectively deserting his job after one year, while still keeping his job. I can’t see that happening. A successful second term (or more than second term) governor has enough capital accumulated as governor to take off and campaign for president—think Dukakis in ‘88, Clinton in ‘92, G.W. Bush in ‘00. But for a first term governor to do that, would look like deserting the job to which he’s been elected, before he’s done the job. This seems to me a formidable obstacle in the path of a Christie candidacy.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 11, 2010 10:56 AM | Send

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