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.
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The national polls, once again, tell very different stories: Clinton leads by just one point in the IBD, Rasmussen, and LA Times tracking polls, while she shows a commanding 12 point lead in the ABC news poll and a smaller but sizable five point lead in the CNN poll. The Republican Remington Research Group released a slew of polls showing Trump up in Ohio, Nevada, and North Carolina, a tie in Florida, and Clinton leads in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Virginia. However, an independent Siena poll shows Clinton up 7 in North Carolina, while a Monmouth poll shows Trump up one in Arizona
Since the release of the Access Hollywood tape, on which Donald Trump boasted of sexually assaulting women, "Senate Republicans have seen their fortunes dip, particularly in states like Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Pennsylvania," where Hillary Clinton now leads. Jennifer Duffy writes that she now expects Democrats to gain five to seven seats—enough to regain control of the chamber.
"Of the Senate seats in the Toss Up column, Trump only leads in Indiana and Missouri where both Republicans are running a few points behind him. ... History shows that races in the Toss Up column never split down the middle; one party tends to win the lion’s share of them."
"Some Republicans are running so far away from their party’s nominee that they are threatening to sue TV stations for running ads that suggest they support Donald Trump. Just two weeks before Election Day, five Republicans―Reps. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), David Jolly (R-Fla.), John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican running for an open seat that’s currently occupied by his brother―contend that certain commercials paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee provide false or misleading information by connecting them to the GOP nominee. Trump is so terrible, these Republicans are essentially arguing, that tying them to him amounts to defamation."
Former Illinois GOP Congressman Aaron Schock "recently agreed to pay a $10,000 fine for making an excessive solicitation for a super PAC that was active in his home state of Illinois four years ago." Schock resigned from Congress after a story about his Downton Abbey-themed congressional office raised questions about how he was using taxpayer dollars.