Update: Chris Christie paid his parking ticket this morning online, shorty after he received a text message from the New Jersey Globe and after this story was posted.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is ten days late paying a $50 parking ticket he received near an upscale French chocolate shop in Jersey City.
Christie received a summons for parking illegally on a street scheduled to be cleaned. His car was parked on Newark Avenue near 2nd Street, near L’atelier du Chocolat. It’s not clear what the former two-term governor’s destination was, or even if he was the driver of the gray Audi registered to him.
Records show that Christie was ticketed at 1:16 PM on Tuesday, April 18. Parking is not permitted on Tuesdays between 1-3 PM so that streets can be cleaned, and several signs are posted in the vicinity.
Christie, who Is reportedly a week or two away from deciding if he will make a second bid for the presidency in 2024, did not meet the May 5 deadline to pay the ticket.
“No one believes a presidential campaign will turn on a traffic ticket, but the problem for Christie is that it plays to a well-worn pattern,” said Micah Rasmussen, the director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University. “It’s one more example of blowing off rules that the rest of us have to follow.”
Christie, who left office with the lowest recorded approval ratings of any New Jersey governor, at an upside-down 15%-81%, has a history of difficulties caused by his hubris.
Nearly six years ago, as state government was shut down over the July 4 weekend because of a standstill between the governor and the legislature, Christie was famously photographed sitting in a beach chair outside a state-owned beach house even as New Jerseyans were being turned away from Island Beach State Park.
As a presidential candidate in 2015, Christie faced criticism for allowing King Abdullah of Jordan to foot the $30,000 hotel bill during a 2012 visit. He had flown to Israel and Jordan on a private jet provided by casino owner Sheldon Adelson, who was lobbying against legalized online gambling in New Jersey at the time.
“When you know the public holds a negative perception of you, the last thing a candidate should be doing is reinforcing it,” Rasmussen said.
The parking ticket offense is not severe, but records show Christie has not requested an adjournment or contacted the court to enter a not-guilty plea.
According to the Jersey City Municipal Court’s website, people who miss a payment date will receive a written notice, and the new fine will increase by not less than $10.
“The notices will continue until the fine is paid or your license is suspended,” the website states.
Jersey City passed an ordinance in 2020 requiring major streets to be cleaned twice weekly and setting parking restrictions for street-cleaning purposes.
Christie did not respond to a text message sent to his cell phone this morning seeking comment.
The former governor has a history of driving infractions, including six accidents and thirteen moving violations since 1985.
While serving as U.S. Attorney, Christie was stopped for speeding in Lambertville in 2005 but was permitted to drive home even though his vehicle was unregistered. The police chief at the time said Christie told the officer he was a federal prosecutor and that he was “a little loud at the prospect of being towed.”
Four years later, as a candidate for governor, Christie acknowledged that he made a mistake by driving eighteen miles over the speed limit in the small town but rejected the idea that he sought special treatment.
In 2005, Christie was on his way to the swearing-in of a new Union County prosecutor when he turned the wrong way on a one-way street in Elizabeth and hit a man on a motorcycle. Christie’s car was towed away, and the motorcyclist, Andrew Mendonca, was hospitalized.
Christie did not receive a ticket; Elizabeth Police Director James Cosgrove said Christie identified himself as the U.S. Attorney, but stopped short of saying he asked for special treatment.
“I don’t think I want to make that kind of deduction, but I think the facts speak for themselves,” Cosgrove told the Star-Ledger.
This is Christie’s second parking ticket since he lost his New Jersey State Police driver in 2018. A vehicle registered to Christie was cited for overtime parking in Morristown in April 2018. He paid a $36 fine.
More than five years after leaving the governorship, Christie is still viewed unfavorably in his home state.
A Fairleigh Dickinson University poll released last week showed that 70% of Republicans and GOP leaners would not consider voting for Christie in a New Jersey primary no matter who was running against him, and just 25% would consider voting for him at all.
More than seven-in-ten New Jersey Republicans (71%) indicated they would vote for former President Donald Trump.