As regional political director for Chris Christie’s re-election campaign, Matt Mowers reportedly reached out to a Democratic mayor for an endorsement — an effort to bolster the governor’s bipartisan credentials ahead of an expected presidential bid. Now Mowers has a high-profile position with the Republican Party in a state that figures to play a large role in the 2016 race.
The Wall Street Journal reported that it was Mowers who reached out to Fort Lee, N.J. Mayor Mark Sokolich last year requesting an endorsement. After initially saying that he didn’t recall an endorsement request, Sokolich offered a different recollection of events this week.
“I said, ‘Yes, I’ll consider it, because I’ll consider anything,’ ” Sokolich told the New York Times. He said he didn’t respond to Christie’s people, but figured “they interpreted my response to that conversation to be a no.”
Many believe that Sokolich’s decision to not endorse the governor motivated Christie officials to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge last summer, causing massive gridlock near Fort Lee.
The New Hampshire GOP announced in November that it hired Mowers as executive director. Democrats in the state have tried their best to bring the bridge scandal to the Granite State.
“The NHGOP and Matt Mowers can’t hide from the people of New Hampshire forever,” the state Democratic party wrote in an email this week. “Eventually, they will have to come clean about what role Mowers played in the scheme that put people’s safety at risk to exact political revenge.”
Jennifer Horn, the chairwoman of the New Hampshire GOP, defended Mowers in a statement on Sunday, calling him “an extremely talented young man and he has been a tremendous addition to our team.”