January 21st, 2014
08:11 PM ET
8 years 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.

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"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. MikeB

    Hey Cooch, you're not a Republican Governor. You lost. Mind your own business.

    January 21, 2014 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    Prominent Virginia rethug? Get real CNN. Cuchimamma is just as bad as the probe governor and just lost an election in Virginia. He should be investigated for the free trips and money HE received also.
    Last joke of a very snowy miserable day in our area. Thanks!

    January 21, 2014 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  3. wendel

    the rats are leaving the ship. This and McDonald too. Time for the trolls to start yelling Bengazi Bengazi again.

    January 21, 2014 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  4. Jim

    Ken Cuccinelli, should resign he is in bed with former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell. I said it so it must be true. One more email and Cuccinelli is history. Cuccinelli, resign now before you embarrass the entire Republican Party.

    January 21, 2014 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  5. Thinkergal

    Oh, yeah, we are chortling over Christie's misfortunes. We love to see a Repugnant squirm.

    January 21, 2014 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  6. victor yao

    Serious money at stake and the republican party must win at all cost ,even if they have to sacrifice their lead presidential candidate for 2016. it should not be a surprise for christie who is part of that machine.

    January 21, 2014 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  7. petena

    CROOK! Don't step down. Keep it going until Hillary runs. Then run away as fast as you can.

    January 21, 2014 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  8. Nogods

    Does the GOP actually have goals?

    January 21, 2014 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  9. HumansAreBadForTheEnvironment

    Not surprised a center leaning right winger won't get nominated. They are on the same level as liberals in the eyes of the tea baggers.

    January 21, 2014 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  10. erichx101x

    This sis the GOP's way of saying, You shouldn't have been a friend of Obama. We haven't forgotten.

    January 21, 2014 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  11. Jack Be Humble

    I see nothing but honest concern for the GOP in Cuccinelli. For truly, he is an honest man, like the Senators of Rome. Et Tu, Kenny?

    January 21, 2014 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  12. Phil Thomas

    Wow I'm no fan of Christie but blame the fact that you are on the wrong side of the every issue & blame it on your tea party led Govt Shutdown. I am an independent and would gladly vote Dem or Repub but it gets harder and harder to find a repub I would support in this years elections. They all say the same thing and its not something I can get behind

    January 21, 2014 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  13. Sausage Frenzy

    Its all good when the GOP self destruct.

    January 21, 2014 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  14. So predictable it's boring

    Um, did he forget he LOST the race for the governor? Shouldn't this come from a sitting member of the RGA?

    January 21, 2014 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  15. blf83

    Not that Cuccinelli is a sin-free darling. He who casts ... well, you get it.

    January 21, 2014 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  16. Sean

    Don't you love how innocent until proven guilty has flown the coop in this country?!? As a former Attorney General, you of all people should be most passionate and outspoken against that. Instead, here you are trying to grab your share of the limelight. Mr. Cuccinelli...I hope you receive the same kind of compassion when your foes start spewing crap about you.

    January 21, 2014 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  17. 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

    January 21, 2014 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  18. Antonio666

    I'm no fan of Chris Christie, but really – where does a loser like Cuccinelli get off criticizing Christie or the RGA. He lost his race on his own, with his Tea Party policies and his stand on women's health issues. He should retreat to the ashcan of history like his Lt. Governor and Attorney General running mates.

    January 21, 2014 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  19. TruTH

    Told you so! Not surprised at all. It's a matter of time before Christi steps down from the chairmanship of GOP Guv..association.

    January 21, 2014 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  20. William J. Polhamus

    Cuccinelli is the most right-wing extremist on the political circuit...well not now that he lost and is out. I guess that is what happens when you try to make people live the way you want them to. Look at what he did when he left office....an anti-gay opinion. No matter what, religious extremists in government will have the last say, no matter right or wrong. What do you eexpect from a scumbag lawyer? The whole country is run by them, and THAT is the problem......

    January 21, 2014 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  21. Ben

    Sounds like Cuccinelli has some sour grapes – maybe he needs some cheese with his whine. As the attorney general under a guy who now faces 14 counts of accepting illegal gifts, and now a LOSER for the VA governor's race – perhaps we should cover this guy with a wet blanket and send him back to the hole he crawled out of. Time for the Cooch to go home and never be heard from again!

    January 21, 2014 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  22. Peter Gerdeman

    I'm sorry, but Ken is a loser. From a long list of losers. NO – we are not getting rid of Gov. Christi as leader of the Ste's Governors. He is the first one we have had in a decade that has brought common sense. Why don"t you go join Jeb Bush, and see if Americans are ready for you two in the White House? Hmmm?

    January 21, 2014 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  23. Scott

    So from what I read...he couldn't win on what he stood for. It came down to money spent on his election. sounds bitter to me.

    January 21, 2014 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  24. woodie

    So, the thick plottens.

    January 21, 2014 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  25. Old Timey

    Hmmm. Pot...kettle....black Cucc! It is funny you are saying this on Christie's inauguration for NJ Governor considering you lost to McAuliffe in Virginia. Any "nearly" sane person could have beaten McAuliffe but you continued to spout crazy and it cost you the job.

    January 21, 2014 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
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