Jamie Fox, the longtime Democratic political operative whose skills enabled him to serve New Jersey governors of both parties, died Monday. He was 62.
The news was first reported by Tom Moran of NJ Advance Media. Moran wrote this touching first-person column Monday.
Fox was best known as a no-nonsense operative, who served as chief of staff to Gov. James E. McGreevey and former U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli. He also helped President Barack Obama get elected in 2008, serving as a senior adviser to Obama's Florida operation during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Gov. Chris Christie praised Fox in a statement Monday night.
"Jamie Fox was one of the most outstanding public servants I have had the honor to know,” Christie said. “Regardless of party politics, he stepped forward time and again in service to our state. Jamie Fox was also my friend. He was a kind man beloved by his colleagues, but he also was a tough fighter for those causes and people he believed in every day. Mary Pat and I cannot fully express our gratitude for his friendship and his willingness to serve in my administration. We pray tonight for his friends and family and for him to rest in peace."
Fox was known as a no-nonsense dealmaker in New Jersey, respected on both sides of the aisle, especially on issues of transportation.
So, perhaps, it wasn't a surprise when Christie tapped him to be his head of transportation in September 2014, when the governor needed someone who could help fix the broken Transportation Trust Fund.
The move was applauded by nearly everyone at the time. In the end, however, it would to the biggest stain on Fox’s career.
The veteran operative could not make a deal regarding the TTF during his time in the cabinet. And, after he left, in July 2016, he was charged by federal authorities with conspiring to commit bribery, in a count tied his role as a lobbyist for United Airlines and the case against former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chairman David Samson.
Fox was awaiting trial at the time of his death.