Embattled New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is getting strong support from some other GOP governors after he was tarnished by his recent scandal.
That scandal erupted after revelations that Christie’s aides and appointees allegedly caused a traffic backup in the Northern New Jersey city of Fort Lee to punish its mayor for not supporting Christie in his reelection bid last fall.
Christie has been telling his fellow governors that the situation is under control, and as the head of the Republican Governors Association (RGA), he carries a lot of weight, since he controls tens of millions of dollars they might need in 2014. Christie has contacted Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the RGA vice chairman, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who is supposed to have Christie join him for fundraisers around Florida this weekend.
Christie’s advisers, including his pal Republican National Committee member Bill Palatucci, are contacting other well-known GOP lawmakers for their support. GOP leaders aver that Christie will not lose his post as head of the RGA unless further revelations break. Christie spokesman Colin Reed said, “The Governor has received an outpouring of support from Republicans across the country, including many leading governors and other elected officials. They appreciate the way he has addressed this matter head-on, taken responsibility and held people accountable.”
Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee pushed its acolytes to attack Christie’s post as chairman of the RGA, insinuating that GOP governors vulnerable in 2014 might eschew appearing with him.
But the RGA is standing behind Christie; Fred Malek, who runs their finance operation, said Christie has dealt with the scandal “as well as anybody possibly could… he acted decisively with the facts he had. I feel pretty good about the way he’s handled it.” When Christie held his press conference addressing the problem, the RGA sent out a memo to governors and other GOP members saying Christie had shown “leadership” by firing those responsible for the scandal. The memo read:
Governor Christie apologized to the people of New Jersey, the people of Fort Lee and to the members of the New Jersey legislature. He made it clear that members of his team exhibited unacceptable conduct and a complete lack of respect for both the role of government and the people he is trusted to serve … he believes that when mistakes are made, you own up to them. That’s what leadership is about. He made it clear he is responsible for what happens under his watch — the good and the bad.
Corbett’s campaign manager Mike Barley said of Christie, “We certainly support him and believe he has addressed the issue. He took it on head-on and has acted decisively.” South Carolina’s Nikki Haley defended Christie on Facebook even before she was contacted.