Gov. Chris Christie is no stranger to cameras and a swarm of reporters following him around the state.
Both were present when he announced a new campaign with NBA star Shaquille O’Neal earlier today and when he attended a Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation roundtable discussion last week.
In the past three weeks, they followed the governor to some of the at least four groundbreakings he attended across the state and the three ribbon-cutting ceremonies on Christie’s schedule. Over that time period, the governor’s agenda called for more than 20 public appearances – not counting the dozen campaign stops Christie’s made since mid-September.
But missing from the governor’s usual repertoire of public appearances has been the opportunity for reporters to ask questions.
The governor’s last public avail was on Sept. 18, when the governor hosted a Statehouse news conference for the signing of a bill that expanded corporate tax breaks in New Jersey.
When asked if Christie has any press avails pending on the horizon or if the lack of avails meant anything in particular or was just the result of a busy schedule, a Christie spokesman responded with the latter.
“Yes, it does mean something,” said governor spokesman Michael Drewniak.
“[It means] that he’s very busy day in and day out, splitting time between a re-election campaign and as chief executive of the state of New Jersey,” he said. “Schedules are tight and full and the days are long.”
But despite Drewniak’s assertion that any story on the lack of the governor’s public availability is “whiny” at best, at least one political observer in the state recognizes there could be good reason to stay out of the fray.
“You’re up by at least 20 points, everybody knows you and knows what you stand for,” said Patrick Murray, director of Monmouth University Polling Institute.
“Avoiding the press is probably a pretty good strategy at this point,” he said. “While he doesn’t have a history of making mistakes in those situations, the thing that could happen is that you could make a mistake. Why tempt fate?”