- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 6, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Who you don’t want to be right now: Outgoing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

The state’s headed to primary ballot boxes Tuesday. But it’s Christie who’s grabbing the limelight — as a case-in-point example of a Republican’s fall from grace.

The once shiny star of the Republican Party’s not just under fire from the left right now — a who-cares moment, as the left is always targeting the right. But he’s also facing substantial heat from those of his own party — a not-so-who-cares moment for a guy who’s soon going to be joining the ranks of the unemployed, likely looking for some political favor to find a new gig.

Christie, who rose to national prominence with a tough-talking, talk-back to some teacher union members who were used to steamrolling their will through the school systems, is no longer the love of the right.

He lost some of his glitter when he appeared to be too buddy-buddy with Barack Obama, post Hurricane Sandy.

He lost more during the Bridgegate scandal, when it was alleged he used his political office to close lanes of a heavily traveled roadway to make political trouble for Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor, Mark Sokolich.

And now?

His approval ratings have plummeted.

Just this past March, only 20 percent of voters approved of Christie. That’s lower than any other governor across the country. And in February, a Quinnipiac poll put his approval at only 19 percent.

Now, Republicans seeking office, like Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagano, have to distance themselves from Christie.

“[Christie] is going to be the target going into the general election, and anyone associated or affiliated with him is obviously the target,” said Carl Golden, a GOP strategist, to The Hill.

And distant, Guadagano has become.

Months ago, she took a pot shot at her still-boss Christie, talking about how she’s traveled “tens of thousands of miles inside a car,” not helicopter — as Christie’s been criticized for doing. And just recently, she jabbed, “I am not looking for the next job, unlike others,” a reference she then clarified was indeed aimed at Christie.

It’s been a long journey for Christie, from darling of the right for daring to speak boldly and bluntly at a time when the party was downtrodden and despondent — at a time when the Obama effect of stifling all political dissent was roaring and strong — to now, this: A cast-away of the GOP.

His failed run at the presidency was quickly followed by his widely criticized handling of President Donald Trump’s transition, a position he lost to Vice President Mike Pence.

From inner circle to sidelines, in jig time. Christie’s become the guy the Republicans want to forget.

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