Christie’s Democratic Ally Worries Bridge Scandal Will Become ‘Distraction’

ASSOCIATED PRESS

One of Chris Christie’s Democratic allies in the New Jersey legislature urged his colleagues Tuesday to not be distracted by the George Washington Bridge scandal, an admonition that was met reportedly met with silence.

New Jersey State Sen. President Steve Sweeney (D) made a reference to the media attention generated by the scandal.

“The headlines in the recent press cannot become a distraction,” Sweeney said in remarks on the senate floor, according to reporter Matt Katz.

Katz noted that Sweeney did not receive applause for the remark.

The investigation into the politically motivated lane closures on the bridge has exposed a divide among New Jersey Democrats. State Sen. Richard Codey (D) said Monday that “Democratic power brokers” in the state were trying to halt the probe, but the newly sworn-in speaker of the state Assembly, Democrat Vincent Prieto, shot that down.

According to reporter Michael Linhorst, Prieto didn’t mention the scandal in his remarks.

Codey hasn’t specified who he was talking about, but his remarks were reminiscent of last year’s concession speech by Christie’s Democratic challenger, state Sen. Barbara Buono.

Buono used the speech to torch the “Democratic political bosses” who aided Christie’s re-election effort. The Star-Ledger reported at the time how she had been “critical of South Jersey power broker George Norcross and Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo.” DiVincenzo endorsed Christie in the gubernatorial race.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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