Chris Christie’s Costly Indecisiveness

WaPo's "Top Christie ally defects to Bush" buries the lede.

WaPo‘s “Top Christie ally defects to Bush” buries the lede.

As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tries for a political revival with New Hampshire town halls and Iowa diner stops, he won’t have one of his longtime friends and political advisers at his side.

New Jersey state Sen. Joseph M. Kyrillos, who chaired Christie’s 2009 gubernatorial campaign and ushered his agenda through a Democratic-controlled legislature, is backing former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s all-but-certain presidential bid.

Tim Miller, a Bush spokesman, confirmed Kyrillos’s support Monday as well as a $10,000 donation Kyrillos made in March to Bush’s political-action committee.

The defection of Kyrillos to Bush’s camp is a blow to Christie, who places a premium on loyalty and had hoped to keep his network of allies in New Jersey with him, should he decide to seek the Republican nomination.

Not only is Christie losing a confidant, but a plugged-in operative and former state party chairman who is close with New Jersey’s biggest donors. In 2008, Kyrillos chaired Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in the state.

Kyrillos is one of several influential Christie associates whose ties to the governor have frayed in recent months. Many power brokers who once cheered his rise are now either hesitant to back Christie as he eyes a campaign for the White House, or shifting allegiances.

Were Christie in the race, the “defection” of a key ally would be the correct emphasis. But the fact is that the race is already underway and Christie has been eliminated. He had next to no chance of winning the nomination, anyway, which he presumably realizes and explains why he’s not more formally running. But it’s too late at this juncture for anybody but a rock star to jump in. And I can’t offhand think of who that rock star might be.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tries for a political revival with New Hampshire town halls and Iowa diner stops,

    He’s not looking for a political revival, he’s looking for a place to retire to where better than half the people there don’t want to tar and feather him.

  2. grumpy realist says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Reminds me of the comments the late Steve Gilliard said about Giuliani’s run for something: that he had pissed off so many groups in the NYC area that it would be hard to find space for all the axes, daggers, and dirks that were going to be thrown at him.

  3. JohnMcC says:

    If it was Gov Christie who introduced the idea of curtailing SocSecurity into the Repub field, I thank him and wish him well. Whoever did that was doing Hillary a huge service.

  4. J-Dub says:

    James, are you saying the Republican field is set? Can you give a list of who you feel is in already? I’m thinking this:


    It seems like Christie could jump into this weak crowd.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @grumpy realist: You’re right. I forgot it was Jersey we’re talking about. Those folks want blood.

  6. James Joyner says:

    @J-Dub: Yep. Jeb pretty much has the “Republican Wing of the Republican Party” apparatus wrapped up and most of the others are vying to be the “Tea Party/Social Conservative” alternative. I’m not sure what Rand Paul is. I don’t see what Christie adds even aside from his baggage.

    Maybe a Sarah Palin without the baggage–say, Palin as she stood five years ago–could jump in and shake things up. But I don’t see anybody out there now with that ability. If Jeb were still a non-candidate, he might have that ability because of his name recognition and standing with the fundraising machine.

  7. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @J-Dub: Don’t you dare count out Carly Fiorina!!

  8. EddieInCA says:


    Add to this list…

    John Bolton
    Carly Fiorina
    George Pataki
    Rick Perry
    Mike Pence
    Haley Barbour

    Many of these will join just to goose book sales and speaking fees (Carson, Bolton, Fiorina, Barbour).

    Still trying to figure out which of these guys (and lady) can get to 270. Still can’t see it.

  9. J-Dub says:

    Oops, and I used to work for her!

    Probably says something about her viability, although I give her as much chance as Carson, Cruz, Paul, or Huckabee.

  10. ernieyeball says:

    I’m not sure what Rand Paul is.

    The way he is pushing a book he must be a librarian.

  11. grumpy realist says:

    @J-Dub: Yeah, if we’re going to talk about the negatives that some of the above candidates have stuck to them, I know people (vaguely conservative) who would crawl over broken glass to vote AGAINST Carly Fiorina.

    I don’t think she realizes exactly how many people she pissed off in the tech world.