Room for one more? New Jersey Governor Chris Christie becomes the latest Republican to signal that he's almost ready to throw his hat and the ring. 2015 has seen a string of candidates pre-announcing and announcing their candidacies. Like Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham, and others before him, Christie has been considered a likely candidate for some time. Christie is the last of the statewide Republican office holders expected to jump into the race to actually join it.
New York public radio station WNYC reports via its Christie Tracker:
Gov. Chris Christie plans to make his long-awaited announcement that he's running for the Republican nomination for president of the United States next Tuesday at the last place where he was president—Livingston High School in northern New Jersey, sources familiar with his plans tell WNYC.
Christie was president of his class all three years of high school before graduating 35 years ago this month. He played on his championship baseball team and maintains several friendships from his time there. He organized class reunions in the decades before becoming governor.
Sources familiar with Christie's plans spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to preempt the governor's announcement.
Christie will become one of a number of anti-libertarian candidates, and unlike others, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who at least try to co-opt libertarian rhetoric in the libertarian moment, Christie does no such thing. Whatever the libertarian position might be, chances are Christie has taken an opposite one.
New Jersey decriminalized medical marijuana, Christie dragged his feet. He worried about the "profit motive" in medical marijuana and calls taxes from marijuana "blood money." Whereas most Republican candidates have taken at least a federalist approach to states legalizing marijuana, if not an outright libertarian one, Christie is going to be the prohibitionist candidate, promising to stop states like Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska from treating marijuana like a legal substance. On foreign policy, Christie is another blank slate for establishment interventionists.
While Christie's tried to reform entitlements in New Jersey, state expenditures have reliably gone up since he took office, hitting $50.6 billion in 2015 and estimated at $56 billion for fiscal year 2016. As usual, there's no dearth of Republican candidates refusing to engage the problem of government spending. In April Christie actually suggested raising the eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare and means-testing the program. His plan was attacked by Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who's trying to position himself as the populist candidate in his second go around for the Republican nomination.
Christie averages 4 percent in polls of the 15 person field followed by RealClearPolitics. If all the candidates polled equally they'd be at 6.67 percent each. Six of the candidates averages are above that.