Christie Cuts Campaigning Short as New Jersey Faces Storm

Updated on
  • Democrats had criticized Republican governor for not returning
  • New Jersey governor had planned six-day trip to New Hampshire

Governor Chris Christie is cutting short a campaign swing through New Hampshire and heading home to New Jersey, where residents are bracing for a major snowstorm.

The second-term Republican, who initially planned to stick it out in the Granite State, said Friday on Twitter that he would depart for New Jersey in the afternoon. His wife, Mary Pat, is staying and holding campaign events. Earlier, Democrats including New York Mayor Bill de Blasio had criticized Christie for not returning.

“I want to make sure the people of my state feel safe and secure,” Christie said on Twitter, directing his comment at New Hampshire voters. “But I will be back, because I am able to do both things. The fact is you are never not the governor.”

Christie’s campaign schedule had included six days of appearances in New Hampshire, which will hold the first primary election of the 2016 Republican presidential nominating contest Feb. 9. On Thursday, Christie was holding storm briefings by telephone from there.

A blizzard warning and coastal flooding advisory is in effect for parts of New Jersey this weekend. Forecasts predict more than a foot (30.5 cm) of snow, and wind gusts as high as 45 miles (72 km) per hour, according to the National Weather Service.

De Blasio, during an interview Friday on CNN, had called upon all governors with states affected by the storm to return to their states.

“It’s time to come home,” the mayor said.

Christie’s approval rating in New Jersey has dropped to around 30 percent -- from as high as 70 percent -- as he spends more time out of state in pursuit of the Republican nomination. Last year, he was out of state on 261 days, or 72 percent of the time, including short trips to neighboring New York and Pennsylvania for media appearances.

During his first year in office, Christie was criticized by Democrats for traveling to Florida’s Walt Disney World with his family as a snowstorm arrived. He took a more hands-on approach with Hurricane Sandy, the October 2012 storm that devastated New Jersey’s coastline and won Christie high marks for his response.

The governor said he will hold a press briefing Friday evening in Newark, New Jersey’s largest city.