New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) re-election campaign kept a list of swing towns — referred to collectively as “the Top 100” and individually as mini-Ohios or mini-Floridas — that Christie wanted to win in 2013 in order to bolster his image for 2016, according to The New York Times.
The Times reported on Wednesday that staff members in the governor’s office “created tabbed and color-coded dossiers on the mayors of each town — who their friends and enemies were, the policies and projects that were dear to them — that were bound in notebooks for the governor to review in his S.U.V. between events.”
The effort, known as “intergovernmental affairs,” was led first by Bill Stepien, Christie’s campaign manager and deputy chief of staff, and then by Bridget Kelly, who succeeded Stepien as deputy chief of staff. Following the revelations that his staff was involved in discussions about the George Washington Bridge lane closures, Christie fired Kelly and asked Stepien to remove his name from the running to be chairman of the New Jersey Republican Party.
Some Democrats in New Jersey have alleged the lane closures were done in retaliation against the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., who declined to endorse Christie’s re-election bid and whose city saw days of gridlock because of the closures.
The Times also detailed the loyalists that surrounded Christie, and the way the policy team and the political team began to merge after Christie began receiving national attention.
From the Times:
Commissioners recalled that they were instructed by the front office how to rule. Legislators accustomed to asking questions directly of cabinet members or commissioners were told that they had to go through the governor’s office instead.
Mr. Christie himself tended to the smallest of details. He personally oversaw appointments to the State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, legislative leaders said, and when he wanted to discuss something with lawmakers, he texted them himself. (He told one top legislator that he had learned from his experience as United States attorney not to email; texts were harder to trace.)
Read the rest here.