Memory Of Sandy Will Shadow Chris Christie Presidential Campaign

The 2016 presidential campaign has been dominated by the entry of Hillary Clinton for the Democrats and Donald Trump for the Republicans.  However, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will formally throw his hat in the ring as a Republican nominee later this week.

The question for Christie is how his time as Governor of New Jersey will help or hinder his ambition to sit in the White House.  The Garden State will be the base of support for Christie but many New Jersey residents have mixed feelings towards the Governor, particularly people living in coastal communities.

New Jersey was one of the regions hit hardest by Superstorm Sandy in the fall of 2012.  According to the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), over $8 billion in flood insurance claims were paid out in the aftermath of Sandy to families whose homes were damaged or left unsalvageable as a result of the storm.

It was later learned that FEMA approved lowball insurance payouts for hundreds of thousands of New Jersey homeowners on the recommendations of firms that insured those homes.  Insurers hired engineers to assess the damages, and ruled that many of those damages were caused by shifts in the foundation of the land rather than overland flooding.

These rulings limited the size of the payouts FEMA was willing to approve, forcing many homeowners to manage thousands of dollars worth of damages out of their own pockets.  Many people continue to deal with the aftermath of those costs to this day.

When Sandy first struck, Christie was out on the frontlines in disaster ridden areas, defending the people who were most affected by the storm.  He vowed to bring tourists back to coastal communities as well as the boardwalk of Atlantic City, and was a vocal critic of what he called the “selfishness and duplicity” of lawmakers in Washington, who delayed passage of an emergency relief bill for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

However, the actions taken by FEMA tainted the memory of Christie’s leadership in the aftermath of the storm.  People who were most affected by Sandy are still paying for the storm, and the lingering negativity towards the disaster may impact how New Jersey residents view Christie during the presidential campaign.

Sandy may be gone but it is far from forgotten.  Can Christie build enough support outside of his home state to reach the White House, or will insurance mistakes taint his ambition?

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