Lt. Gov. Assumes Power in NJ 26 Times So Far

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    NJ Gov. Chris Christie with Lt. Governor-elect Kim Guadagno

    In the 20 months since being elected, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno has formally assumed power at least 26 times, according to public records released this week.

    But what the records don't show far outweighs what they do.

    They don't show how often Gov. Chris Christie has left the state or what the circumstances were when he did. And the decision to transfer power is largely the governor's decision to make.

    While other governors have transferred power more often than Christie — Democrat Gov. Jon Corzine spent a portion of more than 100 days out of the state in 2008 and Republican Christine Todd Whitman also hit triple digits for days out of state in 1997 — it is tough to compare.

    Before 2010, there was no lieutenant governor and sitting governors were expected to transfer power anytime they left the state, legally handing the reins to the Senate President, who was sometimes from a different party.

    Early on in Corzine's term, the attorney general found that his overnight visits to neighboring New York, where his then-girlfriend lived, did not trigger a transfer of power, throwing another wrench into when the power transfer was required.

    Governors' out-of-state travel has long been debated by members of both political parties.

    When Christie started listing political events on his public calendar, he was criticized by State Sen. Loretta Weinberg for using his office to promote partisan events. So the Republican governor said he stopped listing the events.

    When it was reported that Christie gave a keynote speech in June before a retreat of wealthy conservatives at the invitation of billionaire oil tycoons Charles and David Koch, Democrats cried foul because the trip went unreported for months.

    Christie has made some of his trips public, but not all, and insists it's up to him to decide which ones to disclose. He has said he usually doesn't transfer power unless he'll be gone overnight.

    Weinberg, a Democrat who ran for lieutenant governor on Corzine's ticket in 2009, this week introduced legislation to require that the governor notify legislative leaders when he transfers powers — something Christie insists he already does.

    "If he already does it, I don't know why it would bother him," she said.

    Christie replied: "It's all politics. She'd love to be lieutenant governor and she's not."