January 21st, 2014
08:11 PM ET
9 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. Ovawendon

    Typical for the republican party to try to eat their own if not "right" enough. Time to wake up and vote smart! We need to get rid of these crazy people who feel they are the only person on the planet and everyone must do their will. The current Teapublicans are forgetting that this is America where we are FREE to decide how we want to live our lives.

    January 22, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  2. OldCrankyVet

    Are the T's & other ultra right afraid of a person who is capable & willing to work across what was the aisle but now Congress' version of the Berlin Wall?

    January 22, 2014 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  3. morrie

    Cucinella is as corrupt as they come. If he was not going along with the tp republicans on their war against women, he may have had a chance. Now it is time for him to sit down and shut up. He lost because of his corruption along with Mcdonald.

    January 22, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Ovawendon wrote:

    "... .. We need to get rid of these crazy people who feel they are the only person on the planet and everyone must do their will. The current Teapublicans are forgetting that this is America where we are FREE to decide how we want to live our lives."
    ------------------------–
    They're not forgetting anything. They just think that they are free to decide how everyone should want to live. At the most fundamental level, the difference between liberals and conservatives is pretty basic.

    Conservatives reach to people by saying, "Join with us."
    Liberals reach to people by saying, "We'll join you."

    January 22, 2014 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. JohnRJohnson

    Cuccinelli is a "GOP bigwig"? Really? That party is in more trouble that I thought.

    January 22, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  6. Qi

    I agree. Christie is major RINO and should switch parties

    January 22, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. polite centrist

    @Name

    "Wow. Shake hands with your sworn enemy when something greater than politics is occurring, and get thrown under the bus. Throwing away their best chance at the Oval Office. What a waste."

    Sir, if the POTUS is your sworn enemy, You are a TRAITOR.

    January 22, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  8. Grego

    In Christie's case that would be two steps to the side.

    January 22, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  9. conoclast

    Yeah Christie, bow out and make way for a Cuccinelli-approved, un-electable, intransigent tee-bagger!

    January 22, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  10. Larry

    The headline here should have read "Republican- do as I say, not as I do".

    January 22, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  11. Laughing

    Cuccinelli is why there is now a bill pending in the Virginia legislature requiring candidates be picked from a primary election so that candidates best represent the entire party and not just a fringe few.

    January 22, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  12. Jesse

    This is like the pot calling the kettle a Teapooper.

    January 22, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  13. Me

    melissa

    Christy should have been fired as soon as the goverment new about everything that he had done wrong with the shut down of the toll roads and we all know his envolment with the storm sandy scandal
    ___________
    Are you really that dense, by your logic, Obama should have been impeached after each scandal he is/was involved in, who care if there is proof, he was accused so he is GUILTY. Sounds pretty STUPID doesn't it??? There is NOT a bit of PROOF that Christy is involved YET so innocent until proven guilty might be in order!!! You liberals were crying about this when Obama was accused now you speak a different tune, you people have NO INTEGRITY!!!

    January 22, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  14. sly

    The New Jersey Mobster Crook Christie will eventually resign.

    He is already disgraced, and that is quite a statement for a New Jersey politician, where 'crooked' has always been the norm.

    Given his obesity, I strongly encourage him to quit because he can only be a few months, maybe a year, away from croaking.

    January 22, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. Bell2

    Enough of the good ole boy Republican Party. No more self-serving haters of women and minorities. No more corruption with our tax dollars and bribes from lobbyists. No more tricking the public. No more 'Stupid Party'.

    January 22, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  16. BOB

    "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, mentioned often as a potential presidential candidate as well....."

    LOL – please, please..... oh, this will be fun. The GOP just continue to do stupid things... but keep on keep on hoping for different results.....

    January 22, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  17. Pam from Iowa

    Why should he step aside? He is just like all the other GOP.....except he just got caught!!!!!

    January 22, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  18. Malory Archer

    It's the "librul media's" fault I tells ya!

    January 22, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Me wrote:

    "Christy should have been fired as soon as the goverment new about everything that he had done wrong with the shut down of the toll roads and we all know his envolment with the storm sandy scandal."

    Are you really that dense, by your logic, Obama should have been impeached after each scandal he is/was involved in
    -------------------------
    What makes you automatically think that the author is an Obama supporter? They could just as easily be an anti-Christie libertarian. There seems to be more people on the far right that dislike Christie than people on the far left.

    January 22, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  20. JoJo

    Christie (R) is stubborn as a bull, and won't do what the right tells him to do, just to spite them, even though he strongly confirms that he is Republican. Make no mistake about it, he'll keep up this nonsense for years if he has to, all at the tax payers' expense.

    On the other side, the left has always disliked him as well. That small sliver in the moderate right, without the support from the far right or far left is shrinking fast. Faster for him after all this corruption came to light. His tenure in politics will be about 4 more years, if he doesn't resign/get impeached before then, serving out the rest of this term.

    That's it – he's a spent player.

    January 22, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  21. ghostwriter

    A crook telling another crook to come clean....

    Shouldn't he be worried about his own impending legal issues in VA?

    January 22, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  22. wendel

    hey I think Christy does a great job representing repo governors. The public needs to see what turds they are.Can't wait to see what turns up next.

    January 22, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  23. JustAnotherBigotFullaChristianHate

    sung to the tune of , It's beginning to look alot like christmas ..

    It's beginning to look a lot like Prison .... Everywhere you go ..~~~
    Say good-buy to Louis Vitton, the COACH bag on your arm, the Rolex that you took for quid Pro Quo !

    January 22, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  24. GI Joe

    Biigwig? ha ha ha ha ha

    January 22, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  25. GI Joe

    GOP trying to pass a bill to protect wealthy who avoid taxes. LOL

    January 22, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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