NJ Politics Digest: Chris Christie’s Portrait Will Cost Taxpayers $85K

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The enduring image of former Gov. Chris Christie, for those who lived through his tenure as the state’s chief executive, might be of him perched in a folding chair on a state beach during the July 4  weekend he ordered everyone else to stay home.

But when you are governor, you have some say over how your legacy is portrayed, and for Christie, that portrayal comes at a cost of $85,000.

The Record reports that Christie approved spending $85,000 for his official portrait — which adds up to more than what it cost for the portraits of the three previous governors combined. The money comes from a $250,000 transition account granted to former governors and used to pay for staff, office space, and their portraits.

And, to add insult to injury, the artist isn’t even a New Jersey resident — or an American.

Instead, Christie selected Australian artist Paul Newton to paint his portrait, according to The Record report.

The portrait is the most expensive since Jim Florio commissioned a $58,000 portrait of himself when leaving office in 1994. When figuring in the cost of inflation, Florio’s portrait would have cost just short of $100,000 in 2018 dollars, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator.

The Record story notes that Christie is a history buff who has long expressed his interest in the portraits of his predecessors that hang in the State House.

Quote of the Day: “So here’s the thing — when I bring my grandchildren back to the Statehouse and I show them that painting … they’re going to ask me, ‘What did you do, Grandpa, what did you do?’” – Former Gov. Chris Christie, in 2010, who is unlikely to tell those grandchildren he set a record for spending on an official portrait.

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NJ Politics Digest: Chris Christie’s Portrait Will Cost Taxpayers $85K