Chris Christie's very bad weekend

A roundup of the latest news in the ongoing meltdown of the Republican governor's career


Elias Isquith
January 21, 2014 7:45PM (UTC)

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has had a tumultuous 2014 so far, and the holiday weekend was no different.

While Team Christie had no doubt hoped that Martin Luther King Jr. Day would slow the news cycle down to a crawl and spare the embattled presidential aspirant from further embarrassment and scrutiny, New Jersey Democrats and the political media kept digging, unearthing more even more potential scandals and even more bad news.

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Here's what you should know:

  • On Saturday, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer appeared on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki" and alleged that Christie's lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno, told her that Hoboken would not receive adequate Superstorm Sandy relief funds unless Zimmer approved a development plan that, Zimmer says, favored the Rockefeller Group at the expense of others. "The word is that you are against it and you need to move forward or we are not going to be able to help you," Guadagno said, referring to the development plan, according to Zimmer. Further, Zimmer claimed that Christie's community affairs commissioner, Richard Constable, told her that money would "start flowing to [you]" once she approved the deal. Zimmer recorded these interactions in her diary, and offered to take a lie detector test.
  • Team Christie first responded to Zimmer's bombshell accusation by attacking MSNBC as "a partisan network that has been openly hostile to Governor Christie and almost gleeful in their [sic] efforts attacking him." Christie Spokesman Colin Reed went on to say that Zimmer was one of many "Democratic mayors with a political axe to grind" who had "come out of the woodwork" in order to "get their faces on television."
  • On Sunday, Zimmer repeated her charges on ABC's "This Week," saying that Guadagno told her "[t]his project is really important to the governor" and that hers was "a direct message from the governor." Zimmer said she didn't speak up sooner because she felt that no one would believer her story. Later that day, Zimmer met with the U.S. Attorney's office, providing officials there with her diary and other relevant documents.
  • On Monday, New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno released a statement calling Zimmer's revelations "not only false but ... illogical" and said they failed to "withstand scrutiny when all of the facts are examined." She went on to call Zimmer's claims "completely false" and said she was a victim of Superstorm Sandy herself and thus found Zimmer's allegation "particularly offensive."
  • Also on Monday, Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis told the media that Gov. Christie's administration canceled an earlier plan to make Lewis the state's first physical fitness ambassador as payback for Lewis' decision to run against a Christie ally for New Jersey state Senate.
  • On Monday again, Yahoo News published an interview it had conducted with Christie on the previous Friday, before Zimmer's allegations became major news, in which the governor described the level of scrutiny he was suddenly receiving from the media as "awful" but vowed he wouldn't change his personality, saying "This is it. I like who I am."
  • Last but not least, a Pew Center-USA TODAY poll found that among those who have heard about Christie's bridgegate scandal, 58 percent are "skeptical" about Christie's claim that he knew absolutely nothing. The poll also found that, compared to last year, Christie's unfavorable rating had doubled, now reaching 34 percent.

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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