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Christie’s other scandal: $12 million special election he claimed wasn’t political

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New York And New Jersey Continue To Recover From Superstorm SandyAs someone who’s spent hours in traffic jams in New Jersey, I’m overjoyed that Chris Christie is on the hotseat and his presidential ambitions are jeopardized. When it first came out that those lane closures on the George Washington Bridge last fall were an act of political vengeance, it was clear that the most important angle was the contempt for the general public and the abuse of power, and not the payback and bullying. I wondered why the national media wasn’t hopping on the story. Well now they are!

So here’s the Christie story they should get to next, in the same file of selfish contempt for the public: Christie’s staging of a $12 million special election last October to fill the late Frank Lautenberg’s Senate seat, just twenty days before his own election day. Christie didn’t want the two elections happening in November because he was afraid that Senate hopeful Cory Booker being on the Democratic line would knock down Christie’s numbers, because the bipartisan governor draws a lot of Dems.

So he scheduled Booker’s election for Oct. 16, at huge cost to the public.

Christie lied about that too. He said there was “no political purpose” in the decision. The press saw through it.

Christie had the options of scheduling an election for next November [2014], this November [2013], or an earlier date of his choosing. In the end, he went with option three, saying repeatedly that he “deemed it advisable” to do so — hardly the most transparent statement.


Christie claimed that there was “no political purpose” behind his decision, and that he had acted solely to ensure that there is an election as soon as possible. Yet the odd timing of the election date — weeks before Christie’s own re-election, in which he’s a considerable favorite — means he won’t have to share a ballot with Booker, a popular Democrat in the deep-blue state.


That has naturally lead to much speculation that Christie was really just protecting his own political ambitions.


If the special election had been set for Nov. 5, as New Jersey Democrats had been lobbying for, the potential presence of Booker on the ballot would have been a boon to Christie’s Democratic gubernatorial opponent, state Sen. Barbara Buono,” wrote The Washington Post’s Sean Sullivan. “Buono is losing badly now, but with a well-known Senate candidate ginning up the Democratic base ahead of Election Day, her fortunes could have turned.”


Josh Barro concurred in a post over at Business Insider. Everyone knows this is B.S.,” Barro wrote of Christie’s claim that he simply wanted to fill the seat sooner. “Christie knows he’s better off if his race and the Senate race are on separate ballots.”

The election cost taxpayers an extra $12 million. Huffpo:

Republican county officials are now joining with their Democratic counterparts to question the cost of New Jersey’s special U.S. Senate election.


The Boards of Chosen Freeholders in Bergen County and Monmouth County on Wednesday publicly questioned how they will be able to pay for the costs of the Aug. 13 special primary election and Oct. 16 special election without the state giving counties the money upfront.

Gov. Chris Christie (R) has pledged that the state will pay the $24 million bill, but by reimbursing local officials who will pay the initial costs — a process that could take as long as seven months.

That special election had a tiny turnout. So Christie was accused of voter suppression, at huge cost:

The decision “disenfranchised” voters, said a Rider University political scientist, Ben Dworkin. Only 24% of registered voters went to the polls in Democrat Cory Booker’s victory over Republican Steve Lonegan…

Critics said this week’s special election increased the state’s election costs by $12 million and that the date Christie picked, which was not a traditional Tuesday election day, suppressed votes…

“I think it was clearly pointed out in the low-voter turnout and the confusion that arose that this was nothing more than a ploy on the part of Governor Christie to suppress the vote,” Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman, a Democrat from Ewing Township, N.J., said in a conference call with reporters Thursday…

Once again, the governor displayed arrogance and contempt for the public:

Christie hasn’t been available for an open press conference in a month. Monmouth University polling director Patrick Murray said the governor wouldn’t be able to fend off questions on the election scheduling.

“It’s an argument he can’t win,” Murray said.

Will the special election have any consequences? NJ Dems said they’d make something of it.

Another state lawmaker said he will push to pass legislation that would take away a governor’s ability to control succession when a U.S. senator is unable to serve. Assemblyman John McKeon’s bill would eliminate the special election option — a measure that Christie called “garbage” when McKeon first proposed it in 2009.

Contempt, abuse, pettiness, self-dealing– Christie trademarks. I confess I find him appealing in other ways. But keep him in New Jersey.

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23 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    January 10, 2014, 3:10 pm

    Ok the spotlight should be on the Christie debacle’s but at places like Huffington Post where Christie has been front and center for three days they will not put Hillary Clinton in the hot seat for her negligence in the Benghazi debacle. Get it that 60 minutes Lara Login interviewed one serious fraudster but there were two U.S. military officials also interviewed in that program that said they had repeatedly let the Clinton State Dept to ramp up security in Benghazi. Only to be ignored. These are serious failings.

    Over at Huff Po I have put up numerous criticisms of Hillary Clinton and they never ever NEVER EVER make them up into the comment section. But every comment ripping Christie to shreds makes it up.

    So called progressive sites like Huff Po are no different than Fox News when it comes to their willingness to allow criticisms based on facts of their chosen. And Arianna Huffington and team have chosen the right wing warmonger Hillary Clinton. They are going to be relentless in their efforts to take Chris Christie down.

    So the Chris Christie debacle will be covered by so called progressives (who are as rigid as the far right on their issues) Huff Po sites but not a peep about Clinton’s very serious fuck ups and never allow those comments. Free speech…choke

    • Ellen
      January 10, 2014, 5:56 pm

      Huffington Post is in many way more revolting than Fox news. Is it really relevant?

      • Kathleen
        January 10, 2014, 6:40 pm

        Millions of people go to that site to get information if you want to call their hollywoodesque website information…but that is the case. I have linked to Mondoweiss, Going to Tehran, Informed Comment and far more relevant sites over there for years now. The fact that they like so appear progressive but are as rigid in their views and what they will and will not allow to be focused on is polar opposite to Fox and just as intolerant of other perspectives as Fox

      • Stephen Shenfield
        Stephen Shenfield
        January 11, 2014, 7:21 am

        Kathleen, As someone better clued in to the American political scene than I am, I would be interested to know your opinion of TruthOut.

      • Kathleen
        January 11, 2014, 5:55 pm

        I used to go to Truthout on a regular basis. Numerous Professor friends at Ohio University really appreciate the site. I have gotten into a habit of just going to Going to Tehran, Mondoweiss, Informed Comment, Emptywheel’s, Micheal Sheuer’s Non Intervention, Moon of Alabama (once in a while), Salon, Foreign Policy, Counterpunch and periodically head over to Weekly Standard, National Review to see what they are saying.

        Can only take in so much.

        Although do my best to spread around the pieces that I think well hope folks widen their scopes on critical issues.

        What is your opinion of Truthout?

      • Stephen Shenfield
        Stephen Shenfield
        January 12, 2014, 12:05 pm

        It seems to me an honest and useful source. But I know there can be hidden agendas below the surface that only the best informed people can discern. So your answer is reassuring. Thank you.

      • quercus
        January 11, 2014, 11:36 am

        @Kathleen and Ellen. Even more revolting were the guests on 10 am segment of the Friday News Roundup of the Diane Rhem Show.

        It seems a good deal of the media (both right and left, which as an aside leads me to consider that Christie has got something going for him if he is attacked by his own party) has Christie tried and convicted of political skullduggery, although I’m not sure that is a ‘crime’. So far, there has been no evidence that I’ve read or heard about to convince me he agreed to or in fact demanded this bridge closure.

        I am not precisely sure what you call the people at Huffpo, on the Diane Rehm show, at Daily Kos ……. journalists? Hardyly. I did not hear one decent piece of ‘journalism’ from any of them on Diane Rehm or read anything at Huffpo — only opinions, of which I am not in the least interested. To give an example, Cheryl Gay Stolberg called Christie “emotional” during his press conference. I didn’t get that impression at all, in fact my impression was that he was calm, clear, and unemotional, if apologetic. Am I to defer to Stolberg’s ‘opinion’. If so, why? Because she is so much more wise than I? She is a ‘mind reader’ when I am not, so she ‘knows’ what is in the mind of Christie? No indeed. I found her, and indeed, the other guests, unbelievably biased and unable or unwilling to exhibit a scintilla of skepticism about the issue, or even a tiniest recognition that what Christie says may be true.

        I have nothing but contempt for them.

    • dbroncos
      January 10, 2014, 8:34 pm

      Christie is also in hot water over disbursement of FEMA monies for Sandy victims. New Jersey lags way behind all the other affected states in providing relief to home owners, making a mockery of Christie and his “Open for Business” commercials, costing $4 mil and paid for from the public purse.

      • Kathleen
        January 11, 2014, 12:17 am

        This is all about the Clinton machine trying to take Christie out of the running. And of course the so called liberal press jumps on full force..

      • quercus
        January 11, 2014, 11:39 am

        @Kathleen. I think you are absolutely correct. dbroncos says “Christie is also in hot water over disbursement of FEMA monies for Sandy victims …….”Tell me when some governor or other is not in “hot water” for some reason or another. Wow, such a surprise that some people are not happy with the pace of financial reimbursement. Goodness, gracious, imagine such a thing.

        In a race between Hillary Clinton and Attila the Hun, I’d vote for Attila. Just to make that clear.

      • puppies
        January 12, 2014, 1:02 pm

        Of course. Attila didn’t need Zionist bribes

  2. DICKERSON3870
    January 10, 2014, 3:31 pm

    I just love the “CHRIS CHRISTIE, ★ GOVERNOR ★” personalized jacket. Those stars really “do it” (NOT) for me. It so much reminds me of George W. Bush!
    Narcissistic much?

    • Kathleen
      January 10, 2014, 3:48 pm

      But with Hillary Clinton you will get the Bush Cheney foreign policy strategy. Iran will be the next stop if Clinton gets in…guaranteed. She is bought and sold by the I lobby

      • DICKERSON3870
        January 10, 2014, 11:02 pm

        I agree about Hillary Clinton!
        If Bernie Sanders runs, I will probably be supporting him.

      • Kathleen
        January 11, 2014, 12:18 am

        I think Elizabeth Warren/Sherrod Brown would be great candidates. Enough of the Clinton’s. Hillary will do as the I lobby orders on Iran…the next stop will be Iran if she gets in

      • DICKERSON3870
        January 12, 2014, 6:49 pm

        I would certainly be predisposed towards Elizabeth Warren/Sherrod Brown (although Warren seems to have capitulated to AIPAC). I just don’t think they will run in 2016.

  3. piotr
    January 10, 2014, 5:39 pm

    To me, what made the closing of the lanes special is sheer spiteful irrationality of it, something that we can observe a lot in the conduct of Israel. It is one thing to abuse power for personal enrichment or political gain — the abuser is low on morality but rational. Separating special elections from the regular elections by few weeks is in that category. But doing random s..t to inhabitants of Fort Lee and tens of thousands of others who were “collateral damage” did not advance any purpose. The very concept, secret mass intimidation, does not make sense. If it is secret then it does not intimidate!

    • pabelmont
      January 10, 2014, 6:01 pm

      And, like Israel’s spitefulness there is the IGNORING of the crime and the ignoring of the CONTEMPT for the public by politicians and media. Just as politicians and media never seem to “see” Israel’s lawlesness (etc.), the same seems to have happened here — for a while.

      Why after the FIRST DAY were there no questions asked by Christie himself? Doesn’t he read the papers? But it lasted 4 days. He claims ignorance.

      Ignorance of WHAT?

      He didn’t know the lanes were closed, he didn’t know the trouble the lane closures were causing, or he didn’t know why?

      And if he knew they were closed and the great trouble it caused, what did he do about it? Whom did he ask for information? Of whom did he demand action?

      And were the media on him (or on anyone else) for an explanation all those days?

      • eljay
        January 10, 2014, 6:51 pm

        I laughed when I read that Christie accepted full responsibility for the lane closures…and then fired some staffers, but not himself. I love how politicians and bureaucrats do that.

        Christie’s a politician with the ethics of a goon / mobster. He’ll make a great president for anyone willing and able to buy his attention. He’ll be a nightmare for anyone else.

  4. ckg
    January 10, 2014, 6:48 pm

    And we musn’t forget Christie’s use of a state helicopter to attend his son’s high school baseball game. The game had to be stopped so Christie’s chopper could land in a nearby field.

  5. puppies
    January 10, 2014, 6:55 pm

    Sorry, I’m thick.
    Where is the Zionist/Palestine connection?
    If the site only wants tepidly “Democratic” “non-Zionists”, in addition to the usual Zionist Hasbara houseteam, please tell us upfront, so we know. Most of us have no time to waste in a Tri-state tribal club and many of us have totally unexpected party affiliations.

  6. January 11, 2014, 8:08 am

    Corey Booker is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Israel Lobby

  7. just
    January 12, 2014, 7:09 pm

    I honestly cannot see one Congresscritter or Presidential candidate that I will support until and unless they are not servants of Israel.


    Too bad for Christie– I thought he was different.

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