With his embattled nominee for education commissioner again facing delays in confirmation, Gov. Chris Christie threw his support behind Christopher Cerf’s assertion that he has changed his residence, even as Cerf’s own words continue to add haze to his claims.
Christie, speaking during a morning news conference at the Statehouse Tuesday, said Cerf has taken the necessary legal steps to change his residency from Montclair in Essex County to Montgomery in Somerset County.
“He’s done everything that he needs to do to establish residency,” Christie said. “He’s changed his driver’s license, he’s changed his voter registration, and he has a lease down there (in Montgomery) on an apartment, and so I don’t know how else you judge residence other than that, and those are the factual indicators that they use.”
Cerf’s residency became an issue because Sen. Ron Rice, D-Essex, had used a long-standing Senate tradition to block Cerf’s nomination as commissioner. The practice, known as senatorial courtesy, allows a senator from a nominee’s home county to stop the nominee from going through the confirmation process. Cerf’s home since 1999 had been Montclair.
Rice’s objections would be nullified by Cerf’s move to Montgomery, where he would have to go through Sen. Christopher Bateman, a Somerset County Republican whom Christie said has already agreed to Cerf’s appointment.