Chris Christie’s Worst Day as Governor

The New Jersey governor’s presidential prospects are bound to take a hit over politically motivated retribution.

MENDHAM, NJ - NOVEMBER 05: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (C) shakes hands after casting his ballot for New Jersey governor in the general election outside a polling center at the Mendham Township Fire Department on November 05, 2013 in Mendham, New Jersey. Republican Gov. Chris Christie and Democratic challenger Barbara Buono are the top contenders for governor seat but there are six other independent or third party candidates also running: William Araujo, Jeff Boss, Kenneth Kaplan, Diane Sare, Hank Schroeder and Steven Welzer. 
National Journal
Steven Shepard
See more stories about...
Steven Shepard
Jan. 8, 2014, 6 a.m.

Since last Novem­ber, Demo­crats have sug­ges­ted that a com­plic­ated story in­volving traffic pat­terns on a bridge con­nect­ing New Jer­sey and New York demon­strated that New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie — the nom­in­al, early front-run­ner for the Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­en­tial nom­in­a­tion — is a vin­dict­ive bully un­fit for high­er of­fice. On Wed­nes­day, Demo­crats got some ma­jor am­muni­tion for that ef­fort in the form of emails from seni­or Christie ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials that un­veil a co­ordin­ated ef­fort to pun­ish a polit­ic­al rival and con­tra­dict deni­als from Christie and his aides that such an ef­fort ex­is­ted.

It turns out that Christie’s close aides and seni­or of­fi­cials on his reelec­tion cam­paign were in­volved with or aware of plans to choke off ac­cess to the George Wash­ing­ton Bridge, the north­ern­most of the Garden State’s three Hud­son River cross­ings in­to Man­hat­tan, at the foot of the bridge in Fort Lee, N.J., the Ber­gen Re­cord re­por­ted Wed­nes­day. Fort Lee May­or Mark Soko­lich, a Demo­crat, was the ap­par­ent tar­get of the cam­paign, and the snarled traffic is viewed by some as pay­back for Soko­lich’s fail­ure to en­dorse Christie for reelec­tion. Christie won eas­ily at the bal­lot last Novem­ber, earn­ing the sup­port of some of the state’s Demo­crat­ic of­fi­cials along the way.

Christie has denied that his team was in­volved in chan­ging the traffic pat­terns and that they were polit­ic­ally mo­tiv­ated, so Wed­nes­day’s rev­el­a­tions pose threats to his im­age and cred­ib­il­ity. Voters ap­proved when Christie took on Demo­crats and their al­lies on the state budget, and they ap­plauded when he be­rated mem­bers of his own party who op­posed fed­er­al aid for Hur­ricane Sandy vic­tims.

But Christie’s out­spoken style poses risks for him in a pres­id­en­tial cam­paign. And a tale about in­ten­tion­ally di­ver­ted traffic, stran­ded com­muters, and secret polit­ic­al pay­back might sound more “Jer­sey wiseguy” than pres­id­en­tial to a na­tion­al audi­ence. The Demo­crat­ic Na­tion­al Com­mit­tee is already out with a Web video — its third on the sub­ject — in hopes of cap­it­al­iz­ing on the grow­ing con­tro­versy. 

What We're Following See More »
ASKS CONGRESS FOR $1.1 BILLION MORE
White House Grants $53 Million for Opioids
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday awarded 44 states, four tribes and the District of Columbia a combined $53 million in grants to expand access to treatment for opioid use disorders and ultimately aimed at reducing the number of opioid-related deaths." But HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell and drug czar Michael Botticelli both called on Congress to approve the $1.1 billion Obama has requested to fight the opioid crisis.

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Many Offices Does Trump Have in Battleground States?
1 hours ago
THE ANSWER

Eighty-eight, according to PBS. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has 291 offices in those same 15 states.

Source:
CORRINE BROWN LOSES HERS
Wasserman Schultz Wins Her Primary
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz beat back a primary challenge by law professor Tim Canova on Tuesday. The Florida Democrat and deposed former Democratic National Committee chief led 57%-42% with more than 80% of the vote counted last night. Meanwhile, fellow Florida Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown became the fifth incumbent to lose during this election cycle. Brown, who was recently indicted for fraud, lost to former state Sen. Al Lawson.

Source:
CHALLENGER MAY NOT ENDORSE HIM
McCain Survives in Arizona
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Reports of Sen. John McCain's demise were greatly exaggerated. Seeking a sixth term, the Arizona Republican handily defeated upstart Kelli Ward. The Associated Press called the race around 8:30pm local time. Ward was in no mood to be conciliatory, saying, "After refusing to debate while running a slash and burn campaign devoid of actual ideas, I hope the senator can rest comfortably with his conscience as he continues to lecture others about civility. The Republican party cannot win as a national party if we keep nominating unprincipled career politicians whose only objective is perpetual re-election." McCain now faces U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in the Nov. 8 general election.

Source:
SURPRISING DEVELOPMENTS
Trump Meeting with Mexican President Today
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump will meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto today. "Trump's meeting is at the invitation of Pena Nieto, who tweeted that he's planning to meet with other candidates as well." Few details were made public, but "Trump is scheduled to be on stage at 6 p.m. in Phoenix for a major immigration speech, so the meeting will be early in the day."

Source:
×