New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie reportedly has signaled a desire to be the next chairman of the Republican National Committee.
According to Politico, Christie has told members of the presidential transition team he would be interested in succeeding Reince Priebus, who has been tapped to be President-elect Donald Trump’s chief of staff.
Though he was an early supporter of Trump’s campaign after dropping out of the GOP presidential primary himself, Christie recently has seen his stock decline among the president-elect’s inner circle, and his reported interest in the chairmanship is an indication he is likely out of the running for any key posts for which he was once considered a candidate.
Christie has downplayed his ambitions to join the administration, insisting instead that he plans to finish out his second term as governor, which expires in January 2018.
He was put in charge of Trump’s transition team in the spring after Trump effectively secured the Republican nomination. Yet Trump demoted Christie not long after the presidential election, replacing him with Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
Some insiders see the influence of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in Christie’s marginalization. Kushner was said to have steered Trump away from picking Christie as his running mate over a family grudge, stemming from Christie’s role as U.S. attorney in putting Kushner’s father in prison for tax evasion and other crimes roughly a decade ago.
Christie also has failed to shake the stain of the Bridgegate scandal, in which former aides of his have been convicted of conspiring to cause gridlock on the George Washington Bridge as political retribution. Christie has not been indicted or charged in the scandal and has denied knowing of his aides’ plans to close lanes of traffic. A citizen’s complaint alleging official misconduct by Christie, however, is still being weighed in New Jersey.
Trump’s preference for RNC chief is expected to factor heavily into the vote by its members to name a new leader.