(CNN) — A top Virginia Republican, Ken Cuccinelli, said embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie should step down from his new role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.
The former Virginia attorney general and 2013 gubernatorial candidate said current investigations into suggested political misconduct by top Christie administration appointees would hinder his ability to successfully campaign for GOP candidates.
“I think just from the perspective of setting aside this as an issue in other races, it makes sense for him to step aside in that role,” he said on CNN’s “Crossfire” on Tuesday.
“He does not serve the goals of that organization by staying as chairman. And that doesn’t mean that any of the charges, political or otherwise are substantive or not. It doesn’t matter. Perception is reality.”
Cuccinelli, now a former elected official, may have been sorting through some hurt feelings dating back to his loss last November in the Virginia’s governor’s race.
After their campaign came up just a few points short on Election Night, Cuccinelli and his aides were furious at the RGA for not steering more money into what they thought was a winnable race.
The RGA spent about $8 million on the Virginia race, but stopped running television ads weeks before the election. At the same time, they pumped $1.7 million into Christie’s cakewalk of a governor’s race in New Jersey — precious money that could have boosted Cuccinelli down the stretch.
“A number of people in the party establishment are going to need to take a hard look in the mirror and think about how they stranded their Republican nominee in Virginia, and with their help we would have had a Republican governor of Virginia,” vented one Cuccinelli adviser.
Christie has said previously the uproar in his state would not affect his work for governors nationally. He was in Florida this past weekend helping to raise money for incumbent Rick Scott.
Christie, a likely 2016 White House hopeful, has come under fire over suggestions top appointees engaged in political “dirty tricks” to punish a Democratic mayor for not endorsing their boss for reelection last November.
Another mayor has accused Christie higher-ups of holding hostage relief money from Superstorm Sandy until she signed off on a redevelopment plan backed by the governor.
Christie’s camp denies any wrongdoing.
Asked by Crossfire co-host Van Jones why Christie hasn’t stepped down from the powerful position, Cuccinelli predicted that the Garden State leader may still get advice from other governors to step down as the scandals continue to sink in.
“Frankly, I think this is still relatively new and he may well step down. I have no idea what his thinking is on that. And he may get some counsel from some other governors along those lines.”
Christie took over the chairmanship from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal for the 2014 election year in November.
There are 36 gubernatorial races in 2014.
CNN National Political Reporter Peter Hamby contributed to this report.