The Fix’s week in politics: Christie runs into trouble; centrist Democrats flee the House

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“On the one hand, I think he’s got a lot to offer. I think he’s the most able politician since Bill Clinton. On the other hand, you look at these other qualities and ask, do you really want that in your president?”

Former New Jersey governor Tom Kean (R), discussing Chris Christie with The Post’s Karen Tumulty. Kean was an early political mentor of the current governor, but Christie recently attempted to remove his son, Tom Kean Sr., from his leadership position in the state Senate, according to reports.

BY THE NUMBERS

7 Moderate Democrats are a dying breed in the House. The decision by centrist Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) to retire means the seven most conservative House Democrats, according to National Journal’s 2012 Vote Ratings, all have retired, lost in primaries, left for the Senate or announced plans to step down after this year.

42 A record 42 percent of Americans identified on average as independents in 2013, according to Gallup. But don’t sound the alarm bells at the Democratic and Republican national committees just yet. While many Americans label themselves as independent — especially given both parties’ image woes right now — data show they tend to remain loyal to one side or the other when pressed on their leanings.

67 Sixty-seven House Democrats joined Republicans last week in voting for a bill designed to address security concerns with HealthCare.gov. Many of them hail from swing districts where the law — which polls show remains unpopular — is a front-burner issue for voters. It’s another sign that House Republicans should continue to be able to find some support from across the aisle this year for measures they introduce on health care.

BEST THING THATHAPPENED TO DEMOCRATS

Chris Christie’s problems. The New Jersey governor looked like the Teflon Man until this week, when newly released documents showed a top aide worked with Christie appointees at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to create a traffic jam for apparently political purposes. The scandal thus far hasn’t implicated Christie, but it has raised all kinds of questions about his leadership and certainly calls into question the résumé of a guy who was looking like the GOP’s best chance at returning to the White House in 2016.

BEST THING THATHAPPENED TO REPUBLICANS

Ed Gillespie made it clear he will run for Senate in Virginia. The former Republican National Committee chairman doesn’t make Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) a top target this year — Warner is too popular for that, at this point — but he does give Republicans a fighting chance in yet another lower-tier Senate race. Republicans are hoping for a favorable environment in the 2014 election, but in order to take advantage of that, you need strong recruits to be in place. Gillespie is a good example of Republicans giving themselves a chance.

— Aaron Blake and Sean Sullivan

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