Two Numbers: Chris Christie's Big Appetite—and Budget—For Concession Stand Bites

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Jungyeon Roh

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, widely known for battling his waistline and bungling his dance moves, has faced backlash over accepting gifts—specifically Dallas Cowboys tickets—and has seen members of his administration implicated in the so-called Bridgegate traffic-halting scandal.

In May, he found himself in another NFL-related controversy, after it was determined he had spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars at concession stands.

New Jersey Watchdog, a nonprofit investigative organization, reported that Christie spent $82,594 in state funds at MetLife Stadium, home to the New York Giants and Jets, during the 2010 and 2011 football seasons.

As governor, he receives a salary of $175,000 as well as a budget of $95,000 for expenses. If he doesn’t use the full 95 grand, the surplus is returned to the state. Christie went through $360,000 of his allowance in five years, and the vast majority of that, $300,000, went to food and drinks, the watchdog determined after reviewing state records.

Over the course of two football seasons, Christie made 58 purchases at the stadium, running up an average concession stand bill of $1,424.

The stadium sells hot dogs for $6 a pop, so if he spent the entire $82,594 on wieners, that adds up to 13,765 of them. If brisket was more his style, the governor could have purchased 6,882 sandwiches at $12 each, or if he was only in the mood for cold ones, he could’ve downed 16,518 12-ounce cans of beer at $5.

Put another way, that Christie concessions total is 1.44 times the state’s per capita gross domestic product (GDP).

The per capita GDP is $57,203, said New Jersey Data Bank, a division of the Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration. That’s the eighth highest in the United States, with Connecticut at the top ($65,070) and Mississippi at bottom ($29,811).

Though Christie made some steep purchases as governor, his spending on food and drink outside the stadium did drop off following a December 2012 interview during which Barbara Walters inquired if he was too fat to be president.

After the interview and his lap-band surgery, which decreases the size of the stomach to promote weight loss, Christie’s grocery bill shrunk to a monthly average of $1,201 from $1,702.