Choosing New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa as the state's next U.S. Senator is being perceived as such a safe pick for Christie that it's almost boring. (My story in today's paper with Jonathan Tamari about the choice is here.)
Chiesa is widely-liked on both sides of the aisle. His confirmation hearing on attorney general was a kiss-a-thon (to use the gov's word), with Democrats practically tripping over each other to praise him. Yet he's a self-described "conservative" Republican who was involved, as the governor's chief counsel, in negotiating Christie's biggest legislative victories. He's also a Christie loyalist, having known the governor for 22 years and having been hired by the governor, repeatedly, for high-profile jobs. And he's not running in the October special election.
So it's on obvious pick.
But here's the kicker, and it's Reason No. 1,000 on why Christie is Christie: No one had any idea.
By my count, two news articles quoted one single state senator -- a guy who isn't even that close to the governor -- suggesting that Chiesa might be a good pick.
My list of a million names that I constantly updated? Totally, totally wrong. Those who were convinced it was former Gov. Tom Kean Sr.? Wrong. State Sens. Tom Kean Jr. or Joe Kyrillos, who both ran for senate in the past? Wrong and wrong. An off-the-wall pick like former Met pitcher Al Leiter (a rumor I started which prompted ESPN to ask him about it)? WRONG.
Christie reaffirmed his iconoclastic image this week. Even when we should know what to expect from the guy, we get something totally unexpected.