Republican governor of New Jersey, Christ Christie was hit with a scandal on Wednesday morning that will put him in a hole heading into the 2016 election.
According to e-mails obtained by the New York Times, Gov. Christie and his administration ordered lane closures in September on the George Washington Bridge connecting New York to New Jersey. The e-mails show that the orders were allegedly made as a shot to Fort Lee Mayor, Democrat Mark Sokolich, who refused to endorse Christie for re-election in 2013.
The Times received the e-mails which revealed massive information that could be politically damaging to Christie moving forward. The e-mail was sent by Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff in Gov. Christie’s office, who sent the order to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to close the lanes about two weeks prior to the closings actually taking place.
“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” she emailed David Wildstein, Mr. Christie’s close friend from high school, and one of his appointees at the Port Authority, which controls the bridge. Mr. Christie and some officials at Port Authority have said the closings were done as part of a traffic study, but they caused havoc for days, backing up traffic for hours.
One part of the e-mailed showed some sense of compassion as a staffer noted "I feel badly about the kids," but that was quickly squashed by another Christie official who stated “They are the children of Buono voters," referring to Barbara Bouno, the Democrat who ran against Christie in the November 2013 elections.
Christie has denied any wrongdoing for the last four months, noting in December that the lane closures were "absolutely unequivocally not" political, but once the New York Times broke the story, Christie once again denied the allegations in a statement released early Wednesday morning.
"What I've seen today for the first time is unacceptable. I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge. One thing is clear: this type of behavior is unacceptable and I will not tolerate it because the people of New Jersey deserve better. This behavior is not representative of me or my Administration in any way, and people will be held responsible for their actions."
Political scandals are not uncommon, but rather expected by voters whose distrust in government has only increased over the years. Whether it's a sex scandal, a bridge scandal or anything else you might be able to think of, Chris Christie can just add his name to the long list of politicians and elected officials that have been caught between a rock and a hard place. Chris Christie will continue to deny any knowledge of the "bridge scandal" with hops that he can just sweep it under the rug like many have done before him.
The problem Christie faces is that it's 2014 and he, whether he admits it or not, wants to run for president in 2016. With a Republican field that is expected to include the likes of former Florida governor, Jeb Bush, Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Bobby Jindal and others, Christie is going to need all the help he can get and a scandal will not help him.
As social media expands and more and more money is being spent on political campaigns, Chris Christie's chances at moving into the White House don't look so bright.