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. jewoodbur

    Geez, I just love "lawyers" of any political stripe forgetting a rather basic tenet of US law...innocent until PROVEN guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. A media smear campaign is not legal proof. And guess what, I don't even LIKE CC!!

    January 22, 2014 04:18 am at 4:18 am |
  2. Trouble

    GOP on the verge to be a dinosaurus drt

    January 22, 2014 04:36 am at 4:36 am |

    Hilarious watching the Guns Over People tea potty eat each other as they walk the plank toward November.

    January 22, 2014 04:39 am at 4:39 am |
  4. zenreaper

    How many times are the Republicans going to let the Democrats DO this? They did it with Cain, now they are doing it with Christie. The "diary" of Mayor Zimmer is a JOKE, all of the "incriminating" stuff is written int he MARGINS, obviously AFTER the main page was written, now the Republicans are calling for Christie to step down...which is EXACTLY what the Democrats WANT them to do, because Christie is the ONLY guy that polls well against Hillary. COME ON people!

    January 22, 2014 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  5. John

    GOP and Democrats "Step Aside" says the American public. Let someone who actually cares about this country have a chance to govern it.

    January 22, 2014 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  6. Rosa

    Ahh... Let the circular firing squad begin!

    January 22, 2014 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  7. kevin

    Yaawwwwn ...... THIS is supposed to be a scandal ? How stupid does CNN think Americans are ????

    January 22, 2014 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  8. Steve

    Wait a minute isn't Cuccinelle under an ethics investigation too?

    January 22, 2014 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  9. Jered

    Christie should step aside....period. Because in the end, he will anyway, after he has racked up 10's of millions in legal fees for the state and federal tax payers to have to fund. If he would have run a clean ship, like he promised to, none of this would be happening. But here we are – his staff are pleading the 5th, and he is doing nothing but hot air speeches. He has not changed & no telling how much more tax dollars he will waste to manipulate business deals for his own gain.

    January 22, 2014 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  10. Searcher

    So the Republican LOSER form Virginia is telling the winner of the New Jersey election to resign? What give him the RIGHT to do that?

    January 22, 2014 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  11. RalphS

    The entire GOP as it stands should step aside. You all need to reinvent yourselves to serve the majority of American's, and not just cow tail to the fringe. Democrats need to do the same as well.

    January 22, 2014 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  12. KieranH

    GOP – The Grand OOOLLLDDD Party. GOP step aside and let those with energy for something other than whining take over.

    January 22, 2014 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  13. cumulus

    Let's pray the uninformed pay a little attention this time. We should all understand clearly by now, the importance of state level elections. In my state the gop house passed 97 laws in less than two weeks, with zero conversations with the Democrats. That is typical, and stresses the need to get more involved, it it will only worsen. A little research goes a long way, its up to us to fix this, the politicians won't do it voluntarily.

    January 22, 2014 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  14. Tom Bukowski

    Whatever Christie did, or din't do, Cuccinelli is one of the last people to take advice from.

    January 22, 2014 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  15. croaton999

    Yet another person with an axe to grind.

    January 22, 2014 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  16. jb1963

    Republicans eating their own

    January 22, 2014 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  17. cumulus

    And the cooch is definitely not a prominent politician, I though he was the attorney general. He's just another burnt offering as far as I'm concerned. The gop loves putting politicians in the legal system, their only real efforts are to obstruct and corrupt. I just can't remember the last time the gop offered something for the working class, and there's a reason

    January 22, 2014 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  18. andrew

    GOP is scrambling to find someone to lose to Hillary in 2016.

    January 22, 2014 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  19. Notadolt

    Ask Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a slithering sneak who undermines seniors and middle class to step aside. He's done more to erode support for Republicans than any other person. We want Christie for President. Don't like Christie? Try an elitist sneak like Rick Snyder.

    January 22, 2014 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  20. etphonehome

    Apparently someone, somewhere cares what this loser candidate thinks. Keep the wound open MSNBC, I mean CNN.

    January 22, 2014 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  21. Gurgyl

    GOP is a total fraud, deceit, cheat, loot. Man, it is pretty much gone to dogs for fifty years or so. Or else, they would have passed HEALTHCARE long time ago. I mean hundred years ago. Yes, they have been taking BRIBE FROM INSURANCE THUGS, NRA GUYS. Karma in USA.

    January 22, 2014 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Yup, there's a lot of follks on the right who dislike Christie. They blame him for Romney losing in 2012. Since that time, there always has been more who disliked Christie than liked him. I think some of the anti-Christie rhetoric may be coming from some of those folks, using aliases and pretending to be liberals.

    January 22, 2014 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  23. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Good luck getting ANY of your GOP governors realected, who's going to vote for governors who deprive their voters of healthcare and try to sabatuage the healthcare law. If the GOP is AGAINEST it , I'm for it!!!! The GOP is AGAINEST all social programs. The GOP needs that money to give more tax cuts for the rich and THEIR job creators that export all the jobs they can to china. You have to be an idiot to vote for the GOP !!!!!

    January 22, 2014 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  24. JustASec

    Christie is sucking up all the resources. Cucinelli is all sour grapes.
    I love it when the cons squabble.

    January 22, 2014 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  25. TONE

    Cuccinelli's call for the bully to resign as chairman of the RGA is the right call, but to tell you the truth i am surprised it came from the cucc.

    January 22, 2014 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
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