New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie once enjoyed widespread acclaim for his management of the state during and after Superstorm Sandy. But as the time between then and now continues to increase — with many New Jerseyans still dealing with severely damaged property — what was once a strong point for Christie is increasingly becoming yet another reason to question whether the governor's case for the 2016 GOP nomination is as ironclad as it once seemed.
Here's what you should know about what Christie's dealing with as of late:
- The Los Angeles Times reports that complaints in New Jersey over the disbursement of federal aid for Sandy relief are becoming louder and more frequent. Problems include delays, poor performance from contractors, and even some possible shady dealings when it comes to how these D.C.-provided funds are being doled out. Christie has long deflected criticisms of his relief management by blaming the federal government. But Christie's spending a lot of time lately out of state, fundraising for the Republican Governors Association, and some of his constituents are starting to wonder whether he cares as much about healing the Garden State as he does planning for a presidential run in 2016.
- Meanwhile, Christie is still dealing with the fallout of his administration's decision to force Tesla, the luxury electric car company, to sell its product through a dealership middleman. Like all Republicans, Christie spends no small amount of his time touting the virtues of the free market, but critics of the Tesla decision call it a blatant example of political privilege overriding economic sense.
- Christie will also be holding another town hall meeting on Thursday, this time in Mount Laurel. So far, these town hall meetings have been remarkably devoid of any Bridgegate-related questions (Christie's team promises they don't screen questions beforehand). It'll be interesting to see if this pattern holds up, as well as how Christie handles the likely questions to come over Sandy recovery.