New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is seeing a much-needed boost in New Hampshire, which has emerged as a do-or-die state for the Northeastern Republican. And often by the White House hopeful’s side as he campaigns across the country – particularly in the Granite State – is his wife, Mary Pat, who is frequently seen shaking hands and conversing with potential voters.
New Jersey’s first lady joked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday that she’s pretty much taken residency in New Hampshire, noting she’s been in the state more than 40 times since her husband announced his 2016 bid.
Here’s more about the woman who hopes to accompany Gov. Christie to the White House next year.
1. She’s one of 10 children
Mary Pat Foster was born in Paoli, Pennsylvania, and comes from a big family, being the ninth of 10 children. She met her soon-to-be husband at the University of Delaware, where she was a year behind Christie. Christie served as student body president at the school during his senior year, while Mary Pat took over the role the following year in 1985. She went on to earn a master’s degree in business administration and finance at Seton Hall University and married Christie in 1986.
2. She quit her lucrative Wall Street job
In April, Mary Pat resigned from her job as managing director at investment firm Angelo, Gordon & Co., fueling speculation that her husband would jump into the 2016 race. She had long been the family’s primary breadwinner during Christie’s time in office. According to the couple’s 2013 tax returns, she raked in approximately $500,000 of their combined $700,000 income that year.
3. She was in downtown Manhattan on 9/11
On the campaign trail, Christie often highlights his national security background as U.S. attorney in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He also strikes a personal note, frequently recalling the stressful five hours on that day when his wife was missing in New York City – and wondering if he would be a single father. He often recounts finally seeing Mary Pat soaking wet and wrapped in a blanket when he was able to pick her up from a ferry. “Terrorism is not theoretical to me,” Christie often says.
4. She doesn’t read The New York Times
Mary Pat was asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday how she handles criticism of her husband, especially on issues like the scandal known as “Bridgegate.” She said, “The first mistake is I don’t open The New York Times. I do read other papers. But you really do start to ignore it. I get clips every day and I just zip through them. And if they are negative, I don’t read them. I read headlines so I am aware, not ignorant to what’s going on. But I think Chris is the best example to all of us. He really has managed to handle it pretty well.”
5. She launched ‘New Jersey Heroes’
In 2010, she helped start the New Jersey Heroes Organization, which aims to “encourage, recognize and support the tireless efforts of unsung heroes that make the lives of New Jersey citizens better.” Separately, she founded the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, which distributed $37.8 million to over 100 nonprofits since the 2012 storm.
6. She doesn’t think Christie is a bully
Mary Pat thinks her husband’s reputation as a brash, bully is unwarranted. During an interview earlier this year with Fox News, she insisted, “He’s not. It’s kind of a ridiculous view of him. People just don’t know him. They don’t know how thoughtful he is and that he has so many different ways of addressing issues.”
7. On her husband’s most annoying habit
During the same Fox interview, Mary Pat was asked what her biggest pet peeve was about her husband and she said she wished he would hang up his ties. “He keeps his ties in a spot in our room I don’t like, and I wish he put them back in the closet,” she said.