Who is Jeff Chiesa, New Jersey's newest senator?
June 6th, 2013
02:37 PM ET
1 year ago

Who is Jeff Chiesa, New Jersey's newest senator?

Updated at 2:39 p.m. ET on 6/6

Washington (CNN) – When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced he was appointing Jeff Chiesa, the state's Attorney General, to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat, many were left asking: Jeff who?

After Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, a liberal democrat, died at 89 earlier this week, a number of names began to circulate as possible options for Christie's appointment. Chiesa was not among those names.

Despite not being among the rumored appointees, the governor commended the attorney general's service at a press conference to announce his appointment and said Chiesa was the best person for the job.

"During the last few days, as I've gotten to deliberate on this decision, it became clear to me that attorney general - would be the best person to represent the people of New Jersey in the United States Senate," Christie said.

But to Christie, Chiesa is more than just another appointment.

By tapping Chiesa, Christie has elevated a longtime friend and confidant to represent New Jersey in the United States Senate until a successor is elected in 2013.

"There are very few people in my life that I know better than Jeff," Christie said, describing his friend as "someone that I know almost as well as I know my own family."

Chiesa began serving as the attorney general of New Jersey in January of 2012 after Christie nominated him for the job. In a release issued by the Christie's office, Chiesa was credited with "attacking the problem of human trafficking," "protecting children" and "targeting gun violence."

At the time he nominated Chiesa, Christie said he had been a "close, trusted advisor and friend who has always put his duties and responsibilities first with considerable talent and integrity."

Christie and Chiesa met in 1987, when they both worked at the law firm of Dughi, Hewit & Palatucci. In 2002, when Christie was named U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Chiesa followed and worked under Christie for seven years, primarily as the Chief of the Public Protection Unit.

According to his state biography, Chiesa was "involved in all aspects of the U.S. Attorney's Office, including the management of the Criminal, Civil, Appeals and Special Prosecutions Divisions."

After working to the U.S. Attorney, Chiesa was a partner at the powerful New Jersey law firm Wolf & Samson.

That stay was short, however, because when Christie ran for governor in 2009, Chiesa left the law firm to serve as Christie's chief counsel from January 2010 through December 2011.

After the election, Chiesa also served as the executive director of Governor Christie's transition team.

Chiesa, who Christie announced would not seek reelection in the Senate after he serves out the rest of Lautenberg's term, described himself as a "conservative Republican" during the press conference and said he was looking forward to getting involved with the "important discussions" taking place on Capitol Hill.

Because he is not seeking the seat permanently, Chiesa will have likely only serve as New Jersey's senator for 4 months.


Filed under: New Jersey • Senate
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Guess

    Nothing to see here, move along

    June 6, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. John

    Dan Merica – you have to do your research. He will be Senator for four months. His term will end in October, 2013, after the special election of October 16th has concluded.

    It fascinates me that you could be this far out of the loop.

    June 6, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. Eric

    This comment is wrong:

    "By tapping Chiesa, Christie has elevated a longtime friend and confidant to represent New Jersey in the United States Senate until a successor is elected in 2014."

    The successor will be elected and seated in October 2013.

    June 6, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    And yet CNN avoids talking about what he's being hired to do. What's going to become the hotbutton issue while he's there? Immigration reform. One would think that real "journalists" would include quotes from him...easily found...regarding what he's said about "border security."

    June 6, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  5. just sayin

    Sniffit
    And yet CNN avoids talking about what he's being hired to do. What's going to become the hotbutton issue while he's there? Immigration reform. One would think that real "journalists" would include quotes from him...easily found...regarding what he's said about "border security."
    ----

    oh no no no!!!!! not border security!!! not that!!! doesn't he know our entire country is supposed to be overun by illegal aliens from all over the world???

    June 6, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "oh no no no!!!!! not border security!!! not that!!! doesn't he know our entire country is supposed to be overun by illegal aliens from all over the world???"

    LOL. I love how you added "from all over the world" as if we don't already know that you equate illegal immigration with Mexicans/Hispanics.

    June 6, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  7. Wake up People!

    Just wondering.....
    How do all the dems feel that have been singing Christy's praises the past few months???

    Gary had the right analogy about the guy that picked the snake up off the ground, nursed it back to health, then it bit him. He asked the snake why he did that after he nursed him back to health? The snake replied, you knew I was a snake when you picked me up.

    Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss........

    June 6, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    just sayin wrote:

    oh no no no!!!!! not border security!!! not that!!! doesn't he know our entire country is supposed to be overun by illegal aliens from all over the world???
    ------------------
    And guard towers every half mile along our southern border with Mexico will protect us from "illegal aliens from all over the world" how?

    June 6, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  9. just sayin

    Sniffit
    "oh no no no!!!!! not border security!!! not that!!! doesn't he know our entire country is supposed to be overun by illegal aliens from all over the world???"
    LOL. I love how you added "from all over the world" as if we don't already know that you equate illegal immigration with Mexicans/Hispanics.
    ---–

    are the majority of the illegal aliens that cross the southern border not mexican or hispanic? or are those dumb canadians going all the way to mexico in order to sneak into the usa??? bwahahahahaha.... you really aren't half as smart as you think you are.

    June 6, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. just sayin

    Rudy NYC
    just sayin wrote:
    oh no no no!!!!! not border security!!! not that!!! doesn't he know our entire country is supposed to be overun by illegal aliens from all over the world???
    ------
    And guard towers every half mile along our southern border with Mexico will protect us from "illegal aliens from all over the world" how?
    --

    snipers. don't worry though. they will just wing them... hahahaha or we could always just drone them like your buddy obama does.

    June 6, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  11. Marie MD

    This is exactly why these repugs cannot be trusted.
    Deep down inside all that fold and bully ways christie is a repug. He did what he had to do to receive help from the Feds for his state but this is the real right wing governor coming out of his hole.
    The same could happen in Virginia and the $15K wedding gift va ginal probe governor appoints cuchimamma for just a "few" months.

    June 6, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    I wonder how many guards that you need to put into each half mile tower? One, two, a dozen? What happens if mob of 40 suddenly made a run for it? One, two or a dozen guards wold be outnumbered. You'd need more than a couple of guards in each tower at all times.

    Let's see now. 4000 towers, times 3 shifts per day, is 12,000 shifts at one man per tower. Let's put a dozen guards into each tower, so that we would need 144,000 shifts covered per day. Now how do we house, feed and transport all of those guards to these remote towers. They would obviously have to live very close by, or it would be really costly.

    June 6, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    just sayin wrote:

    snipers. don't worry though. they will just wing them... hahahaha or we could always just drone them like your buddy obama does.
    --------------
    It would take some exceptional snipers to pick off folks sneaking in across the northern border. What do your snipers plan to do about tunnels under the border. How many guards/snipers per tower will you specify?

    June 6, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |