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An Endorsement By Any Other Name

Would smell as sweet.

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal story “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s Aides Pressed Hard for Endorsements” (subscription only) contrasts the brass knuckles tactics some Democratic mayors faced with the tender treatment of our own mayor:

New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s ability to secure Democratic endorsements supported his overwhelming re-election last year and helped establish him as a 2016 presidential contender, but now a traffic scandal has put the spotlight on his campaign’s tactics with local officials across the state.

Interviews with mayors and other New Jersey Democratic officials show that Mr. Christie’s allies in conversations that swung from friendly to persistent fostered a perception of better access to the governor’s office and state commissions for those who cooperated, while a few who stayed neutral or endorsed Mr. Christie’s opponent said they felt locked out. Others suffered no harm……………….

…………….Jersey City’s Democratic Mayor Steve Fulop said there was swift retribution when he failed to endorse Mr. Christie. Mr. Fulop, elected in May, was seen as a pragmatist, rising star—and potential Christie ally—in the state’s second largest city.

Mr. Christie spoke at Mr. Fulop’s inauguration in July, and the Democrat’s campaign gave early indications it might endorse the Republican, according to people familiar with the discussions.

The Christie campaign in phone calls, according to one person familiar with the discussions, offered new access to state commissioners, who hold the purse strings for many Jersey City services.

Mr. Fulop decided against endorsing the governor. Within an hour of relaying his decision, the mayor said, meetings with several state commissioners were canceled.

Since then, he said, “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” of New York and New Jersey, a bistate agency Mr. Christie jointly controls with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Mr. Fulop’s name surfaced when Christie representatives discussed in emails how to respond to Mr. Sokolich’s pleas for help during the traffic mess in Fort Lee. “Radio silence,” one Christie ally wrote, regarding Mr. Sokolich. “His name comes right after mayor Fulop.”……………..

………………..The mayor of Hoboken, Dawn Zimmer, said she was invited to the state capital in February to meet with Mr. Christie and Mr. Stepien. The conversation began with talk about securing federal money for superstorm Sandy damage then turned to politics. The governor, she said, asked her to endorse his re-election.

“It was not that easy to tell him no,” Ms. Zimmer said.

Other mayors who didn’t endorse the governor said they suffered no harm. Matt Doherty, mayor of the Jersey Shore borough of Belmar, said he never endorsed Republicans, but state officials nonetheless helped his town after Sandy.

“They’ve been great to work with and never hinted at an endorsement,” he said.


Well of course they didn’t have to.  Just youtube any event in 2013 in which Doherty and Christy appeared together.  Every one of them is a total love fest.  As a matter of fact, the Belmar Democrats made my apparently insufficient enthusiasm for Chris Christie one of their major campaign issues this past fall.

Actually, I’m sure Christie had to swallow pretty hard when he decided to work so closely with Doherty after the storm.  Just weeks before Sandy, Sean Darcy, husband of Maggie Moran’s business partner Laura Matos, was put in charge of tracking and monitoring Christie’s public appearances as part of the opposition research operations of the union-supported PAC “Patriot Majority”.  Read about it here.

BTW, M Public Affairs, the firm that Maggie Moran and Laura Matos are partners in, is a subsidiary of ASGK Public Strategies founded by Obama buddy David Axelrod.  Story here.

And, as you know, Maggie Moran, Laura Matos, Sean Darcy, and borough administrator Colleen Connolly all worked for Corzine.

Obviously our mayor has a very complicated relationship with Christy.  We can only guess what’s going on behind the scenes.

One Comment

  1. Teddy Ehmann wrote:

    Good work! The power-relationships will, I believe play an essential role in the scandal being forgotten soon so that business as usual can prevail in the new year.

    Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink

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