Does the administration of Gov. Chris Christie retaliate against politicians who don’t endorse him?
In an escalating political statewide drama, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop accused Gov. Christie on Thursday of grossly misrepresenting facts.
On Thursday, Christie had held a press conference responding to the “Bridgegate” scandal, in which members of Christie’s inner circle have been accused of conspiring with members of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to close lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge in September, causing traffic backups in Fort Lee. Allegedly, this was done in retribution for Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich’s failure to endorse Christie.
The question on many people’s minds is why Sokolich was singled out for this retribution. But some believe that other political figures may have suffered similar political retribution – something Christie tried to dispel on Thursday.
At his Thursday press conference, Christie claimed his administration worked with Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop despite Fulop’s lack of endorsement.
But Fulop, who has largely maintained a distance from the conflict even though he was mentioned in one of the emails between Christie’s staff, said his administration had only low-level contact with the Christie Administration.
Fulop issued a statement to the press saying:
“Governor Christie’s comments today on my relationship with the State are a gross misrepresentation of the facts … nearly every single meeting we have requested with State commissioners with regard to proactive Jersey City issues has been unfortunately rejected over the last six months, along with countless requests we made to the Port Authority.”
He added, “Cancellations include an entire day of meetings with state commissioners scheduled to be in Jersey City that was abruptly cancelled, with each of the commissioners individually canceling within an hour of the time I communicated my intention to not endorse. We vigorously represent the interests of our city every day and to be the focus of inaccurate claims will not deter us from our goal of making Jersey City the best mid-size city in America.”
Although publicly appalled at Christie’s claims, some members of the Fulop’s inner circle said they welcomed the exchange because it provided Fulop with statewide attention at a point when he is considering a possible run for governor when Christie leaves office.
“This is like a gift from God,” one of Fulop’s political advisors said.