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January 9, 2014
Lawmakers issued reviews ranging from nondescript to positive of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s Thursday news conference, largely reserving judgment on the bridge scandal that’s embroiled the potential presidential candidate’s administration.
That could spell trouble for Christie in the weeks ahead.
The GOP governor asserted at the news conference that he had no involvement in the scandal involving unannounced lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. His comments could come under fire as Congress awaits answers to outstanding questions and plans to press authorities further.
In December, Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., sent multiple letters — both to the New Jersey Port Authority and to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx — demanding explanations for the traffic jam and oversight over the Port Authority itself. His original request asked the Port Authority for answers by Jan. 15.
Rockefeller said Thursday he does not yet plan to hold hearings, but said he is continuing to monitor the situation closely. If the requested response from New Jersey officials does not come back complete, or at all, either Rockefeller or other senators on the committee, such as freshman New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker, could take further action.
“I’ve spent all day watching MSNBC,” he told reporters.
“I don’t know, I’m never satisfied,” he teased, when asked if Christie’s answers allayed his previous concerns.
Booker said in an afternoon statement that he also demanded answers Thursday from the Department of Transportation. In the Capitol, Booker repeatedly rebuffed attempts for comment on Christie, noting only by the evening that he had heard part of the governor’s remarks.
Any congressional investigations would test Christie’s greater political viability for 2016, and his national ambitions would likely only amplify the debate, at least compared to other typical state scandals. And the longer unanswered questions linger, the more likely it is that senators and representatives will want to get involved or call hearings.
Just days after Gov. Chris Christie named his campaign manager to run the New Jersey Republican Party, Christie withdrew his support Thursday amid a scandal over a dayslong September traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge.
The scandal has sent the governor’s administration into turmoil, culminating at a Thursday morning news conference, when he explained his change of heart about former top campaign aide.
“I was disturbed by the tone, and behavior, and attitude of callous indifference that was displayed in the emails by my former campaign manager, Bill Stepien,” Christie said. “As a result, I’ve instructed Bill Stepien to not place his name in nomination for state party chairman, and he will not be considered for state party chairman.” Full story
January 25, 2013
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Stop obsessing over the federal budget and start focusing on policies that benefit the middle class and stimulate economic growth. That’s the message Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has for congressional Republicans as the GOP charts a path forward post-2012.
In a speech at the Republican National Committee ‘s winter meeting a few blocks from where President Barack Obama was nominated for a second term, Jindal delivered tough advice to a party trying to rebound after a rough 2012 election cycle. That included an admonition to stop being the “stupid party.”
But in remarks focused on the need for the GOP to prioritize reaching out to, and persuading, voters of all political stripes and backgrounds, Jindal also offered pointed advice for Republicans on Capitol Hill.
“A debate about which party can better manage the federal government is a very small and shortsighted debate. If our vision is not bigger than that, we do not deserve to win,” Jindal said Thursday evening. “Today’s conservatism is completely wrapped up in solving the hideous mess that is the federal budget, the burgeoning deficits, the mammoth federal debt, the shortfall in our entitlement programs … even as we invent new entitlement programs. We seem to have an obsession with government bookkeeping.” Full story
November 26, 2012
Republican Gov. Chris Christie announced Monday that he will run for re-election next year, when New Jersey and Virginia are the only two states holding gubernatorial elections.
The gubernatorial elections in the two states, which are always held in the year immediately following a presidential election, are often seen as bellwethers for the following midterms.
“The people need to know I’m in this for the long haul,” Christie said at a news briefing in Middletown, according to The Associated Press. The state is just beginning to recover from the devastating damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.
The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute was scheduled to release results of a survey in New Jersey on the response to Sandy, which should provide evidence for Christie’s standing heading into next year.
The Virginia race will likely be between former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe and one of two Republican statewide elected officials, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling or Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, a former governor, considered running for the governorship but announced last week that he will not seek another term.
June 13, 2012
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), fresh off a solid recall win, brought a simple message to the Capitol today: His successful defense of the governor’s mansion last week gives Republicans momentum to win the Badger State’s open Senate seat come November.
In a half-hour closed-door meeting with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Walker discussed the state of play in Wisconsin as well as the broad political principles that Republicans will need not just to win in his state but across the country. Wisconsin’s seat could be key in McConnell’s difficult calculus to become Majority Leader, with Republicans needing to pick up five seats to edge out Democrats.
“He was actually just more or less asking how things are in Wisconsin now. We didn’t get into the nitty-gritty on that,” Walker told Roll Call when asked whether he got any advice from McConnell. “It’s probably one of the most impressive Republican primaries in the country. We have four strong candidates, and I think the simple reality is that with the momentum we have coming out of [June 5], I think it makes it even more likely that we’ll have a new Republican Senator.”
Walker characterized the evening session in McConnell’s Capitol office suite as “very good” and said the two men spoke optimistically about “how we might in the future have a new member from Wisconsin in his caucus.” He said McConnell told him that Republicans in Washington, D.C., were “thrilled” about his victory. Full story