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Hunter Walker

Hunter Walker is a national affairs reporter for TPM. He came to the site in 2013 from the New York Observer. He has also written for New York Magazine, Gawker, the Village Voice, Forbes, The Daily, and Deadspin. He can be reached at hunter@talkingpointsmemo.com

Articles by Hunter

The world of New Jersey politics is clearly a small one.

We already knew top Republican lobbyist Jeff Michaels was the brother of a Port Authority cop who has come under scrutiny in the George Washington Bridge scandal. However, TPM has learned Michaels also has strong ties to another man involved in the growing investigation.

Michaels used to write for a politics website that, at the time, was run by David Wildstein, a former Port Authority official who orchestrated the September lane closures on the bridge. Michaels' name first came up in conjunction with the scandal over the weekend when an MSNBC report revealed that his brother, Port Authority Police Lt. Thomas "Chip" Michaels, drove Wildstein around the bridge during the closures and texted him updates on the ensuing traffic. The network also reported Chip Michaels had a personal connection to the governor, including coaching Christie's son's hockey team.

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One of the New Jersey lawmakers investigating the George Washington Bridge scandal said on Tuesday she thinks a cop who was at the scene of the lane closures in September will end up being subpoenaed in the matter.

State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D) told TPM on Tuesday that she expects at least one of the three ongoing investigations into the lane closures, including possibly hers, will hand a subpoena to Port Authority police Lt. Thomas "Chip" Michaels.

Michaels became a focus of the scandal this weekend after MSNBC reported that he grew up in the same town as Gov. Chris Christie (R) and has other personal ties to him. Some Democrats in New Jersey have alleged the lanes were closed to cause a traffic jam in nearby Fort Lee, N.J. because the mayor there refused to endorse the governor's re-election campaign.

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Records of 911 calls obtained by the Associated Press and published on Thursday illustrate just how badly emergency workers in Fort Lee, N.J. were affected by the September lane closures on the George Washington Bridge.

Audio recordings and dispatch logs showed police and ambulance workers describing "total gridlock" on the streets and warning of delayed response to 911 calls.

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Conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin published a piece Thursday suggesting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is still a player in the 2016 presidential election in spite of the scandals rocking his administration.

Rubin referenced Christie's chances while discussing a Politico story about how Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was defending Christie against calls to resign as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

Rubin described Walker as a potential 2016 candidate and said he still has incentive to support Christie even though they may be rivals in that race.

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