Christie isn't a centrist. He's a Lib pretending to be a Republican.
Christie leans whatever way he leans as long as it benefits him. What makes him so wildly popular here is that he came in with this brash attitude and stood up to the public unions, especially the teachers union. He claimed to lower taxes when in reality he just put in place that taxes can only go up 2% at a time. Whoopie. Taxes still go up. Spending hasn't gone down at all. He's really done nothing and can't really do anything because the state legislature is majority Democrat.