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Friday, October 21, 2016

Christie’s Potomac Fever Persists Even As Approval Ratings Fall

Christie’s Potomac Fever Persists Even As Approval Ratings Fall

Chris Christie is still thinking about running for president in 2016. In perhaps one of the most straightfoward answers the embattled New Jersey governor has given on the topic, Christie responded to CBS News’ Bob Schieffer’s question of whether he was thinking of running for president and when he would make a decision: “Yes, and later.

Adamant that the George Washington Bridge scandal will have little impact on his political career, Christie predicted that despite a lengthy investigation and the firing of top aides, it will be nothing more than a “footnote” by election time. But despite his confidence, voters and donors seem more skeptical.

A Fairleigh Dickson University PublicMind poll conducted in March showed that Christie’s approval ratings had dropped to an all-time low, with only 41 percent responding favorably to the governor, and 44 percent negatively. Since November, public opinion has been steadily declining, with the latest figures representing a 20-point drop from his standing last year. Despite strong initial backing for Christie immediately following allegations that he knew about the bridge lane closures, continuing investigations that appear to further implicate him and reveal inconsistencies have eroded public support. 

In another Wall Street Journal/NBC News pollonly 17 percent of Americans approved of Christie, while 32 percent disapproved. This represents an increasingly large gap between approval and disapproval ratings; in January, the same poll found that 22 percent of respondents saw him positively and 29 percent negatively. Most damning of all, no political group, including his own, saw Christie in a positive light. By a 28 to 12 percent margin, independents regarded him negatively, and 29 percent of Republicans disapproved of Christie, while only 23 percent approved.

While Democrats have a clear frontrunner for their 2016 presidential ticket in Hillary Clinton, the GOP is suffering from a severe lack of strong candidates. In a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, none of the top five contenders for the Republican nomination manage to break 15 percent in support, with Jeb Bush and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) barely edging out Mike Huckabee to tie for first place at 14 percent. Chris Christie just manages to clear double digits, with only 10 percent of voters hoping he will run for president. 

Beyond waning public support for the governor, further complications emerged on Wednesday concerning Bridgegate. One of Christie’s former top political advisors, Bill Stepien, who was largely responsible for Christie’s landslide re-election victory in 2013, publicly disagreed with the internal investigation’s report. Stepien is now threatening legal action for what he says are misrepresentations of his involvement in the scandal. The report claims that Stepien lied to Christie about his knowledge of the George Washington Bridge plot. Stepien, who was fired as a result of the scandal, has said that he was unfairly punished by the governor, and is the second former Christie administration employee to come forward with accusations of errors in the report.

As Christie continues to accumulate former friends, it is hard not to wonder how their enmity may affect the final outcome of the scandal — and he presidential ambitions. For the moment, he appears determined to press forward.

Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • Independent1

    Goodness, Bridge Gate is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many pending scandals circling around Christie you need to be on a whirlygig just to keep up with them. It’s become pretty clear he’s every bit the equivalent of a Mafia Mob Boss the way he’s been handling NJ’s affairs.

    I’m sure most on the NM are familiar with Christie taking it upon himself to cancel the tunnel project that would have been a boon to thousands of commuters so he could use the money intended for that for other illegal purposes; but here’s another one where Christie is giving NJ employees pension monies to political donors as payback for their contributions to his campaigns which may raise some eyebrows:

    Here are some excerpts from a recent DailyKos item on Christie’s nefarious doings:

    First off they detail the strict rules about Pay to Play in New Jersey. Then we get to the meat…

    Yet, despite all of these laws and rules, Pando has discovered evidence that Gov. Chris Christie’s administration awarded a public pension contract to a technology venture capital firm shortly after a partner at that same firm made a $10,000 contribution to the New Jersey Republican State Committee.

    The person who made the contribution is named as Charles Baker, listed as an executive and partner in the firm General Catalyst Partners. Now here’s where it seems we may get what’s known as a twofer…

    If all that wasn’t enough, there’s one more twist. If Baker’s name sounds familiar, it could be because he is not merely a financial executive: He is also the current GOP nominee in Massachusetts’ hotly contested 2014 gubernatorial election. According to the state’s Republican Party, he is running on a promise “to change the culture of corruption.”

    Um, okay, now I’m smiling.

    One more paragraph to whet your appetite, I recommend going to the original article because proper investigative journalism should be rewarded…

    On December 8th of 2011, the Christie administration’s Division of Investment issued a letter outlining its proposal to commit up to $25 million of state pension money to General Catalyst Partners. According to the latest available Division of Investment financial statements, the New Jersey pension fund began its investment in General Catalyst in January of 2012, has committed $15 million to the firm and currently has $8.3 million of pension money in the firm. Assuming the 2.5 percent management fee outlined in the original proposal is the going rate, that $8.3 million would generate General Catalyst more than $200,000 a year in compensation.