Chris Daggett

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Chris Daggett
Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
In office
March 14, 1989 – December 31, 1989
Acting: September 8, 1988 – March 14, 1989
GovernorThomas Kean
Preceded byRichard T. Dewling
Succeeded byJudith A. Yaskin
Personal details
Christopher Jarvis Daggett

(1950-03-07) March 7, 1950 (age 71)
Orange, New Jersey, U.S.
Political partyIndependent
Spouse(s)Bea Horvath Daggett
Alma materUniversity of North Carolina, B.A.
University of Massachusetts Amherst, Ed.D.

Christopher Jarvis Daggett (born March 7, 1950) is the president and CEO of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, one of the largest foundations in New Jersey. A former regional administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, he ran as an independent candidate for Governor of New Jersey in 2009, garnering 5.8% of the vote.[1]


Daggett was born in Orange, New Jersey and was raised in Linwood. He later moved to Bernards Township and attended Ridge High School. He graduated from the University of North Carolina and went on to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he received a Doctor of Education degree in 1977.[2]

Daggett returned to New Jersey and worked on the 1977 gubernatorial campaign of Republican Party candidate Raymond Bateman against the incumbent Brendan Byrne. In 1981, he joined the campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Thomas Kean. When Kean was elected governor, Daggett served as deputy chief of staff specializing in education policy. In 1984, Daggett was named regional administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency for Region 2, which includes New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He was recommended for the position by Governor Kean.[3]

Daggett rejoined the Kean administration in 1988, when he was appointed acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. He was also nominated by Kean to be the permanent Commissioner, but his nomination was delayed by an ethics investigation over his attendance at a fundraiser for George H. W. Bush hosted by Republican National Finance Committee chairman Lawrence E. Bathgate II, an attorney for Ciba-Geigy, under indictment for dumping hazardous waste at its facility in Ocean County. Daggett said he did nothing wrong in attending the fundraiser, and his nomination was finally cleared by the New Jersey Senate in February 1989.[4][5]

Daggett served until the end of 1989, when he left public service to become a partner at William E. Simon & Sons, a Morristown investment firm founded by William E. Simon and his sons William E. and J. Peter Simon. He continued to work on environmental issues with Republican and Democratic governors of New Jersey. He was appointed by Governor Jon Corzine as chairman of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Permit Efficiency Task Force.[citation needed]

Shortly after his gubernatorial campaign ended, Daggett was named the President and CEO of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation based in Morristown, New Jersey, one of the largest private foundations in the state of New Jersey. "This is a good opportunity to look at what are doing and why we are doing it, whether we can better spend our money and who we can work with collaboratively to have a bigger impact", said Daggett, who officially took over as CEO on June 14, 2010. Former governor Tom Kean praised the selection of Daggett, calling it "a superb choice".[6]

Daggett resides in the Basking Ridge section of Bernards Township with his wife, Bea (née Horvath).

2009 gubernatorial campaign[edit]

On April 20, 2009, Daggett announced that he was entering the New Jersey gubernatorial race as an independent candidate.[7] He raised enough money to qualify him for taxpayer matching funds, which would allow him to participate in televised debates with Governor Corzine and Republican candidate Christopher J. Christie.[8]

On July 27, 2009, Daggett named Frank J. Esposito of Ocean Township as his ticket's candidate for lieutenant governor. Esposito is a history professor at Kean University and once served as interim president there.[9]

In the gubernatorial race, Daggett received the endorsement of the New Jersey Sierra Club. It was the first time that the organization endorsed an independent candidate.[10] He was also endorsed by Louise Wilson, mayor of Montgomery Township.[citation needed]

On October 10, 2009, Daggett was endorsed by New Jersey's largest circulated newspaper, The Star-Ledger.[11] Recorder Newspapers, the parent company for 15 newspapers throughout central New Jersey, rescinded their endorsement for Chris Christie and issued an endorsement for Chris Daggett.[12]

In late October, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani demanded Daggett withdraw from the race. Daggett replied: "I'd ask him to withdraw from New Jersey. I don't know why he's coming into New Jersey and trying to tell us how to run our state."[13]

Daggett showed support as high as 20% in one statewide poll in October 2009.[14] Yet, another statewide poll the same month reported his support at just 4% and asserted that pollsters should not have been reading his name to respondents and identifying him as an "independent" but letting respondents volunteer his name.[15] He ultimately received 5.8% of the vote when the election was held on November 3, 2009.[16]

Electoral history[edit]

New Jersey Gubernatorial Election 2009
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Chris Christie 1,174,445 48.5
Democratic Jon Corzine 1,087,731 44.9
Independent Chris Daggett 139,579 5.8
Republican gain from Democratic Swing


  1. ^ "Official Tallies, Candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, November 3, 2009 - General Election" (PDF).
  2. ^ Daggett, Christopher Jarvis (1977). A Study to Determine the Role of Attending Physicians in the Clinical Training of Medical Students and Resident Physicians. University of Massachusetts Amherst (Thesis, Ed.D). Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  3. ^ "Kean Aide Named To Post at E.P.A." The New York Times. 1984-08-17. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  4. ^ "Daggett Focus of Ethics Investigation; DEP Appointment May Be Delayed". The Record (Bergen County). 1988-09-14. p. A3.
  5. ^ "Daggett Confirmed as DEP Chief". The Record (Bergen County). 1989-02-28. p. A4.
  6. ^ "Former N.J. governor candidate Chris Daggett is named Dodge Foundation CEO". The Star Ledger. 2010-03-29. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
  7. ^ Young, Elise (2009-04-21). "Ex-environmental commissioner throws hat in ring for governor". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  8. ^ Mulvihill, Geoff (2009-07-07). "Independent NJ candidate qualifies for match". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  9. ^ "Independent in NJ gov's race selects running mate". The Philadelphia Inquirer. 2009-07-27. Archived from the original on August 1, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-27.
  10. ^ "N.J. Sierra Club endorses Independent Daggett for governor". 2009-08-17. Archived from the original on 2009-08-20. Retrieved 2009-08-17.
  11. ^ "Star-Ledger endorses independent Chris Daggett for N.J. governor". The Star-Ledger. 2009-10-10. Retrieved 2009-10-10.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-08-14. Retrieved 2009-10-23.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Giuliani demandes Daggett withdraw from race,; accessed June 19, 2015.
  14. ^ Rutgers University Center for Public Interest Polling. "Corzine May Be Opening Some Space; Daggett Gaining Though Still Well Behind." Oct. 22, 2009.
  15. ^ Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll. "Corzine Catches Up." Oct. 6, 2009.
  16. ^ "Official General Election Results" (PDF). New Jersey Division of Elections. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-08-22. Retrieved 2009-12-02.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Richard T. Dewling
Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Succeeded by
Judith A. Yaskin