Like former Congressman Dick Cheney, who revived his political career by selecting himself as the running mate for eventual President George W. Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) could forestall his flagging political fortunes by choosing himself to replace embattled Sen. Bob Menendez, should he step down.
According to a report at NPR, that could happen despite Christie’s previous statements that he would “be bored to death” in the U.S. Senate.
Menendez, a Democrat, is currently facing one count of conspiracy, one count of violating the travel act, seven counts of bribery and three counts of honest services fraud, brought against him by the Justice Department. The former congressman assumed his seat in the Senate in 2006.
Although he has asserted his innocence and vowed to fight the federal corruption charges brought against him, Menendez may be pressured to step aside by party leadership. Should that happen, it would open the door for Christie, who is term limited as governor of the Garden State.
While Christie has not formally announced a campaign for the GOP presidential nod in 2016, it has been a topic of discussion since he burst upon the national scene with his blustery style and larger-than-life personality.
Polls, on the other hand, have not been kind to the governor since becoming embroiled in the scandal known as “Bridgegate.”
In a recent ABC/Washington Post poll on potential GOP presidential nominees, Christie came in seventh place with just 7 percent, trailing former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
In October of last year, Christie said there was no way he would want to be in the U.S. Senate.
“The only job left for me to run for is United States Senate, and let me just say this: I would rather die than be in the United States Senate. OK?” Christie exclaimed. “I would be bored to death. Can you imagine me bangin’ around that chamber with 99 other people? Asking for a motion on the amendment in the subcommittee? Forget it. It would be over, everybody. You’d watch me just walk out and walk right into the Potomac River and drown. That’d be it.”
Christie’s statement was made before his political fortunes tumbled, so a change of heart wouldn’t be unheard of should he choose to take his act on the road to Washington.