While the bloom may be off the rose in terms of most of America’s view of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, residents of the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut) say they aren’t surprised and aren’t sure they care. Christie, who was reelected in a landslide last fall, sits at the heart of a political scandal where his office had the George Washington Bridge closed down last September to punish the mayor of Ft. Lee, NJ for failing to endorse the governor. Christie maintains he knew nothing about the plan and that he was deceived by his staff. The bridge in question is the busiest on earth. Officially, the Republican Party is not taking a position on this issue but locally residents have been speaking out, and while no one doubted Christie knew about the plan to close lanes on the bridge, none seemed to really care.
“What difference does it make? Look, I know Chris Christie. I grew up with Chris Christie. Here in Jersey, we are all just like Chris Christie. We want what we want, when we want it and how we want it,” said Tony Martell of Livingston, NJ. “We know how to make people who don’t play, pay and that’s what he did. That mayor should have known better being from Jersey and all.”
Evelyn Coppecci or Newark thought everyone was making too much of “bridgegate.” “What’s the big deal? So some people were late for school and work? Who cares? So maybe Christie knew, I am sure he knew. Everyone knows he is a micromanager and nothing gets past him. What diff does it make? Getting even with your enemies is just the Jersey way.”
New poll numbers seem to back that assertion up. The governor’s approval rating has stayed high with 70% of residents liking him and the job he is doing. Many wrote in the comment, “Yeah, I know Christie is kind of a douchebag, but so what? Everyone in Jersey is.” (Nearly 90% of polls submitted included that or similar language.)
The five moderates left in the Republican Party who live outside of New Jersey were not as accepting. Speaking for the group, Walter Hazlitt of Columbia, South Carolina said, “Maybe they knew what a jerk he is in the New Jersey area, but I was looking forward to voting for him in the 2016 primary. Now I am just sad. Who am I going for vote for? Maybe my dog.”