Chris Christie Created a Massive Traffic Jam on World's Busiest Bridge to Get Back at a Democrat Who Wouldn't Endorse Him, Private E-Mails Among Government Officials Suggest

Mayor of local town who wouldn't endorse him calls him a bully


NJ Governor's Office

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may be more ready to be president than advertised. Christie had previously denied his office had anything to do with a massive traffic jam in Fort Lee caused by a lane closure on the George Washington Bridge, assigning responsibility to a "traffic study," but now emails sent from and to the personal accounts of various Christie officials in Trenton and the Port Authority suggest the lane closures were, indeed, retaliation. Fort Lee's Democrat mayor had previously declined to endorse Christie's re-election bid, unlike the forty-plus other local New Jersey Democrats who did. The endorsements helped Christie secure a landslide victory he will likely try to parlay into political capital for the 2016 presidential election.

The Bergen Record breaks the story:

The messages [obtained by the Record] are replete with references and insults to Fort Lee's mayor, who had failed to endorse Christie for re-election and they chronicle how local officials tried to reach the Port Authority in a vain effort to eliminate the paralyzing gridlock that overwhelmed his town of 35,000, which sits in the shadow of the bridge, the world's busiest…

"Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," Bridget Anne Kelly, one of three deputies on Christie's senior staff, wrote to David Wildstein, a top Christie executive at the Port Authority, on Aug. 13, about three weeks before the closures. Wildstein, the official who ordered the closures and who resigned last month amid the escalating scandal, wrote back: "Got it."

Read the e-mails, via the Record, here (pdf).

Fort Lee's mayor, Mark Sokolich, told the Wall Street Journal he was now convinced he was being retaliated against: "This is the behavior of a bully in a schoolyard. It is the greatest example of political payback." The Journal also notes Sokolich is of Croatian ancestry even though one Christie official referred to him as a "little Serbian" in a message.

Christie is the leader some establishment Republicans, and at least one Obama campaign official, say their party needs.

More Reason on Christie here.