January 21st, 2014
08:11 PM ET
8 months ago

Cuccinelli calls on Christie to 'step aside' as RGA chairman

Updated 9:02 p.m. ET, 1/21/2014

(CNN) – A prominent Virginia Republican, Ken Cuccinelli, said embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie should step down from his new role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

The former Virginia attorney general and 2013 gubernatorial candidate said current investigations into suggested political misconduct by top Christie administration appointees would hinder his ability to successfully campaign for GOP candidates.

"I think just from the perspective of setting aside this as an issue in other races, it makes sense for him to step aside in that role," he said on CNN's "Crossfire" on Tuesday.

Watch "Crossfire" weeknights at 6:30pm ET on CNN

"He does not serve the goals of that organization by staying as chairman. And that doesn't mean that any of the charges, political or otherwise are substantive or not. It doesn't matter. Perception is reality."

Cuccinelli, now a former elected official, may have been sorting through some hurt feelings dating back to his loss last November in the Virginia's governor's race.

After their campaign came up just a few points short on Election Night, Cuccinelli and his aides were furious at the RGA for not steering more money into what they thought was a winnable race.

The RGA spent about $8 million on the Virginia race, but stopped running television ads weeks before the election. At the same time, they pumped $1.7 million into Christie's cakewalk of a governor's race in New Jersey - precious money that could have boosted Cuccinelli down the stretch.

"A number of people in the party establishment are going to need to take a hard look in the mirror and think about how they stranded their Republican nominee in Virginia, and with their help we would have had a Republican governor of Virginia," vented one Cuccinelli adviser.

Christie has said previously the uproar in his state would not affect his work for governors nationally. He was in Florida this past weekend helping to raise money for incumbent Rick Scott.

And two Republican governors said recently they still backed him for the RGA post, despite the problems in his state.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, mentioned often as a potential presidential candidate as well, and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said in Washington they had confidence in Christie's leadership.

Christie, a likely 2016 White House hopeful, has come under fire over suggestions top appointees engaged in political “dirty tricks” to punish a Democratic mayor for not endorsing their boss for reelection last November.

Another mayor has accused Christie higher-ups of holding hostage relief money from Superstorm Sandy until she signed off on a redevelopment plan backed by the governor.

Christie’s camp denies any wrongdoing.

Asked by Crossfire co-host Van Jones why Christie hasn't stepped down from the powerful position, Cuccinelli predicted that the Garden State leader may still get advice from other governors to step down as the scandals continue to sink in.

"Frankly, I think this is still relatively new and he may well step down. I have no idea what his thinking is on that. And he may get some counsel from some other governors along those lines."

Christie took over the chairmanship from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal for the 2014 election year in November.

Christie's role as RGA chairman allows him to travel the country, gain a foothold in key states, and mingle with some of the GOP's leading financial backers - all while controlling a nearly $150 million midterm political budget. Previous RGA chairmen like 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have used the post as a national launch pad.

There are 36 gubernatorial races in 2014.

CNN National Political Reporter Peter Hamby contributed to this report.


Filed under: Chris Christie • Ken Cuccinelli • Virginia
soundoff (193 Responses)
  1. Me

    Why should Christie step down? He was just doing what Teapublicans do best: mistreat anyone who is not "one of them." That means you democrats, you independents, you moderates, you reagan republicans, you conservatives.
    ______________
    Freakin hilarious, I think you have it backwards, look at the LIBERAL leader of the NAACP in NC, if you are not a bleeding heart liberal, you are a traitor to your race, this is done by ALL political parties and is the reason all political parties need to go! A person should run on their values and their values alone, simple as that! LMFAO

    January 22, 2014 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. Linda

    Christie is done, he has too much damage control and trust problem. He hired these folks so for him to state he knew nothing is doubtful. Need a new RCP for governors.

    January 22, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Me wrote:

    "Why should Christie step down? He was just doing what Teapublicans do best: mistreat anyone who is not "one of them." That means you democrats, you independents, you moderates, you reagan republicans, you conservatives."

    Freakin hilarious, I think you have it backwards, look at the LIBERAL leader of the NAACP in NC, if you are not a bleeding heart liberal, you are a traitor to your race, this is done by ALL political parties and is the reason all political parties need to go! A person should run on their values and their values alone, simple as that! LMFAO
    ----------------------------
    False equivalence. The civil rights activist from NC is not an elected official, much less the Governor of a state. No one used the word traitor except his critics. I believe the word he used was "puppet", which is a far cry from traitor. He basically called the man an ignorant fool, not a traitor.

    January 22, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  4. Ralph_in_FL

    I have to wonder whether Cuccinelli is concerned about the health of the Republican Party or just conducting a personal vendetta against Christie.

    January 22, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. Malory Archer

    Me

    Why should Christie step down? He was just doing what Teapublicans do best: mistreat anyone who is not "one of them." That means you democrats, you independents, you moderates, you reagan republicans, you conservatives.
    ______________
    Freakin hilarious, I think you have it backwards, look at the LIBERAL leader of the NAACP in NC, if you are not a bleeding heart liberal, you are a traitor to your race, this is done by ALL political parties and is the reason all political parties need to go! A person should run on their values and their values alone, simple as that! LMFAO

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yeah, except the head of the NC NAACP isn't a politician with the ability to withhold taxpayer funded $$$$ following hurricanes or close access to bridges when they feel slighted by a town politician. Can you say "false equivalence"?

    January 22, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. Jackson

    The GOP was never a big fan of Christie, as he wasn't a right wing conservative. They are seizing the opportunity to knock him from the top of the heap of nominees so they can get an uberconservative to the top.

    The GOP will talk a good game about a liberal witch hunt in public, but, in private, they are thrilled this is happening.

    January 22, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. TracyIndependent

    Linda, I agree......Just like Obama saying "I didn't know" to each of the scandals over the last 2 years.......

    January 22, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. Scott A

    Did you really call this guy a GOP bigwig, really! Did he give you moniker to post for him

    January 22, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. Scott A

    Did you really call this guy a GOP bigwig, really! Did he give you this moniker to post for him

    January 22, 2014 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  10. Scott A

    What about the Gov of NY Cuomo stating that extreme Republicans should not even come to NY, what about the extreme Democrats they are just as bad, of sorry he has already come to NY and eats pizza with a fork and roots for Boston, what were these New Yorkers thinking!

    January 22, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    TracyIndependent

    Linda, I agree......Just like Obama saying "I didn't know" to each of the scandals over the last 2 years.......
    ------------------------
    What scandals? Get back to us when half of Pres. Obama's *innermost circle of people* either retire or get fired. That's when you have a real scandal.

    There are a lot of facts that right wing media has not told you, and I doubt if they ever will. The IRS "scandal" was debunked by Darrell Issa's own committee last August when Democrats forced the release showing that groups across the entire political landscape were investigated in the same way. Furthermore, the person most responsibile for the behaviors was at least 6 or 8 rungs down the ladder from the head of the IRS, and not someone sitting at a desk less than 50 feet from Pres. Obama.

    January 22, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  12. dman6015

    I'm guessing Christie has two words for Cuccinelli, and they're NOT happy birthday.

    January 22, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  13. Dead Wood Only Burns To Cinders

    Cuccinelli has no further standing in political matters after losing to Democrat Terry McAuliffe for the governorship of Virginia. Why should anyone listen to him at this point? He carries no further weight in politics. Period.

    January 22, 2014 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. here and back again

    Can't have a moderate...can't...can't...can't. Can't have a member of the GOP stand up and call their party on their stupidity.

    January 22, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. t

    ..Isnt Cuch being looked at by the FEDS like his old boss?

    January 22, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  16. Got What He Deserved

    It is widely known, through news stories, that Cuccinelli is very anti-Gay and even left some last hour rulings against LGBT people in Virginia. That is one main reason why he did not win as governor. The people of Virginia were more astute than to elect someone with that narrow-minded point of view to the state's' highest office. He got just what he deserved.

    January 22, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. m123

    Like we should care about another blow hard politician

    January 22, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  18. sftommy

    Virginia's GOP doesn't really seem like they're in a position to give advice to anyone except maybe their friends heading to prison.

    January 22, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
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