On Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced his long-awaited bid for the Republican presidential nomination, which means we should expect to see not only a lot more of him, but of Christie's wife, Mary Pat Christie, as well. Mary Pat is the mother of the New Jersey governor's four children — Andrew, Patrick, Sarah, and Bridget — and in 2013, she told South Jersey Magazine her family was "as normal as most people." Mary Pat has consistently played an impressive role in his political career, leading large-scale community projects in New Jersey, and making personal career sacrifices to help her husband. It's likely that her active role at his side will only grow as her husband's presidential campaign gains momentum.
Mary Pat grew up in Paoli, Pennsylvania. She later attended the University of Delaware, where she and Chris met. In his senior year, Chris was the university's student body president, and Mary Pat assumed this position after he graduated. She went on to earn a MBA from Seton Hall University and began a successful career on Wall Street. She co-founded the Mendham Capital Management firm and acted as the managing director at Angelo, Gordon & Co, a specialty investment firm until April. At that time, her husband was rumored to be planning a presidential campaign.
During his monthly "Ask the Governor" radio show on April 27, Chris Christie denied his wife went on a career hiatus because of a potential presidential run, stating:
Mary Pat stepped down because Mary Pat wanted to step down. ... She’s been thinking about this for a while.
However, he went on to say, "It makes my life easier when she’s around and not in New York every day," implying that, whether or not his wife's decision was related to a potential presidential bid, the decision definitely benefited the politician. A spokesperson of the governor went on to tell the Wall Street Journal that Mary Pat had "decided to take a hiatus from her work in the finance world to spend more time with her family and young children."
As managing director at Angelo, Gordon & Co, Mary Pat earned $475,000 to her husband's reported yearly salary of $160,000, according to Politico. Christie was asked if his wife's high earnings were "emasculating or affected him in a negative way," the International Business Times reported, which Christie allegedly laughed off, saying, "I just have three words for you: joint checking account. That money all lands in the same place, baby." In 2013, Christie's wife did not treat her status as the family breadwinner as abnormal, telling Bloomberg:
I’ve always been the breadwinner. ... I really just wanted him to be happy in his career, and he is.
Mary Pat's skills in finance are already an asset to her husband's recently launched campaign, as she tackles a main role in the campaign's fundraising. She has a history of getting involved with her husband's career as a political leader and has already made a substantial name for herself in New Jersey. She founded the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, after the storm ravaged the New Jersey shoreline. The fund "donated more than $37 million in grants and helped thousands of hurricane victims," Heavy reported. Mary Pat described her husband's genuine empathy for his citizens following the storm to CNN on Wednesday, and expressed her own in 2014:
Building back from Sandy has shown the true spirit of the New Jersey people. We support one another, look out for each other and pull together when disaster strikes to help our neighbors and communities in need.
Christie's wife also founded the New Jersey Heroes Organization in 2010, a community project dedicated to "[recognizing], [celebrating], and [promoting] the Heroes of New Jersey who inspire fellow New Jerseyans to give back to their community," her biography on New Jersey's website states. Mary Pat has told South Jersey Magazine the organization has successfully "[given] a boost to people’s causes," which include efforts against autism, cancer, and domestic violence, in particular.
The presidential hopeful's wife has been quiet about how her personal views compare with her husband's, but her long-time support of his career implies that she probably shares his. A popular proverb states that behind every man stands an even greater woman. Although Chris Christie's "greatness" is debatable, Mary Pat's Wall Street successes, financial expertise, and dedication to her community are certainly impressive — and maybe even first lady-worthy.
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