Chris Christie’s involvement–or lack of–in what is being called “Bridgegate” has yet to be determined, but the public scandal and investigation by federal authorities is reportedly causing panic with his Republican supporters.
After documents were released earlier this month that showed that the shutdown of several lanes of traffic between the George Washington Bridge and the town of Fort Lee was caused deliberately by one of Christie’s staffers–Bridget Anne Kelly, who was fired just after the news broke–Christie addressed the public outrage by saying he had no prior knowledge of the shutdown. The lane closings caused not just traffic headaches for commuters, but contributed to delays in emergency medical providers and may have been a factor in the death of a 91-year old woman who didn’t get help in time.
Governor Christie is also being investigated for a possible misuse of funds after he was accused of taking a portion of the money earmarked to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy for creating and distributing ads meant to boost tourism in New Jersey. After all the headlines, some say that the Republican party is scrambling to find a suitable presidential candidate to run in 2016 under the threat that Hillary Clinton poses.
“My sense is they’re hoping against hope there aren’t more shoes to drop,” said Keith Appell, a Republican strategist. “They really want to support him… but they can’t control anything if another shoe drops.”
Rumors that many of Christie’s supporters are jumping ship are tempered by arguments from some Republicans who say that just because there is a “wait and see” attitude among many, that doesn’t mean he’s been abandoned. Christie took a fundraising-tour through Florida over the weekend, and, according to Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist from Miami, there hasn’t been a drop in numbers as far as donors go.
“Donors are calling around trying to get details and invitations,” she said. “I think people are in a wait-and-see mode and in general like the way he has dealt with the issue in the last week.”
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