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

    Cuccinelli looks pretty funny suggesting that Christie resign as Chairman of Governors – when in his own state of Virginia, when he served under McDonnell as Attorney General, (he also ran for Governor and LOST to a Democrat Terry McAuliffe) his former boss, former Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife have just been indicted for accepting gifts and money, in exchange for helping a constituent and businessman. He is a Loser, who is just trying to make himself look good. I wonder if there will be anymore indictments to come out of that McDonnell administration?

    January 21, 2014 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  2. Herewe Goagain

    Cuchinelli is a Tea Party guy with no political future.

    January 21, 2014 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  3. Reasonable Descent

    What will corpulent Christie do?

    January 21, 2014 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  4. Hahahahaha

    Step aside 'Cristy Cream.... I hear 'ole Mittens is currently "Funemployed"

    January 21, 2014 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  5. steve

    Looks like the rats are starting to desert the sinking ship.

    January 21, 2014 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  6. sam

    This is too funny ALL MAIN stream media has spent more time on a traffic jam than any Obama scandal and Obama makes Nixon look honest!!!

    January 21, 2014 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  7. Dan

    Simply risible. The AG under a recently indicted Republican governor (and former RGA chairman), someone who was recently rejected in Virginia's gubernatorial election for making Atilla the Hun look liberal, thinks a moderate Republican should give up a plum political post because there is scandal in his administration. Pfah! If "the cooch" is against him then he has my support.

    January 21, 2014 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  8. Marc Florida

    Sounds like the rats deserting the ship. Among the "Rs" are an enormous number of rodents.

    January 21, 2014 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  9. trevor bryant of flagstaff az

    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. The Teapublican party is a reactionary organization, that wishes to take us back to 1805, and undo all advancements, and go back to the constitution only. They are libertarians, in republican clothing. They hijacked the party because you let them call themselves republicans. They are not. They are teapublicans. They seek anarchy (lack of government).

    January 21, 2014 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  10. Gary51

    You guys can easily dig up people that fit your liberal agenda, even upset Republicans, if they serve your purpose. How about some fair and balanced reporting and commentary? Or is that too far beyond your agenda? NBCNN is simply not a true news organization any longer. It's a left leaning Democrat machine tool.

    January 21, 2014 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  11. Brian

    Sorry CNN, anything "The Cooch" says is no longer "news". We in Virginia voted him out so that we wouldn't have to hear any more of his views. How come every time a tool like Cuccinelli or Robertson or Limbaugh says something, the news outlets feel compelled to report it?

    January 21, 2014 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  12. shane

    and let the political circus begin, where the republican party tears itself apart. you know republicans actually have some good ideas financially. if they would stop with the foolish social agenda, and maintain some kind of unity, they might have a chance

    January 21, 2014 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  13. Blaine

    Go away, Cooch. You lost.

    January 21, 2014 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  14. bspurloc

    Yes Christie either step down and step up the war on Women....

    January 21, 2014 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  15. American

    Dislike Republican Party intensely. However, I don't think Democrats gain anything from going on the witch hunt over Christie. If he did it, just let the facts come out. No need for a circus.

    January 21, 2014 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  16. OrmondGeorge

    He'll probably won't give up that job till he's on his way out of the Governor's mansion – NEXT month.

    January 21, 2014 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  17. 1Joyce

    No – he shouldn't step down. Wait to see what the investigations show. Don't fall prey to the Democrats. This is exactly what they want.

    January 21, 2014 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  18. Jonathon Powelly

    The loser tells the winner to resign.

    January 22, 2014 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  19. They Eat Their Own

    No – it's not a science fiction movie – not a show about hunger ravaging a mother cat with newborn kittens – no, it's REPUBLICAN POLITICS.


    January 22, 2014 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  20. America1st

    The guy put his constituents needing disaster relief funds on hold so his campaign contributors get reap a huge payoff from the Sandy disaster. Yes, he is TOAST. Good bye presidency.

    January 22, 2014 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  21. jjjscott

    If Christie does not please the media then of course he should step aside. Why let due process get in the way? If Christie has been identified by the liberals as a front runner for 2016 then now's the time to get rid of him.

    January 22, 2014 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  22. skibum16

    Cuccinelli is delusional. He was lucky it was as close as it was. He managed to pick up some of the votes that the Libertarian would have gotten. Had it been closer, they wouldn't have risked a wacko like him getting elected. Look at the polls and the final results. Once it was clear Cuccinelli wouldn't win, they could vote their conscience.

    January 22, 2014 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  23. Jim Rome

    This is just painful. I think it's becoming clear that wrongdoing happened. It's like a stock going down 7 points for no reason. And then you find out why the next day.

    January 22, 2014 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  24. obotma

    christie to be forced to step down until this matter is resolved

    January 22, 2014 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  25. shon williams

    I agree but I hate the phrase "perception is realty". It's a cop out phrase.

    January 22, 2014 03:55 am at 3:55 am |
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