New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is not having the best week. The wildly popular governor just blew away his Democratic challenger and has been praised for his direct, albeit brash, approach and willingness to do what it takes to help his constituents. For example, people say he put the well being of New Jersey residents above politics when he praised President Obama for the president’s work following Superstorm Sandy. The governor was a vocal supporter and surrogate for Mitt Romney’s campaign. As a Republican with strong support in a very blue state, his name was naturally floated often as a possible 2016 contender, but this scandal threatens to end his national campaign aspirations and his possible primary opponents could not be happier. No GOP elected official has come forward to defend or support Christie since the Bergen Record broke the story earlier this week.
The most likely beneficiaries of a Christie collapse are Governors Scott Walker and John Kasich, and Congressman Paul Ryan. These three potentials are known for a rabid conservatism mixed with a calm demeanor and manner. Many say Walker has been particularly nice to everyone after he almost lost his job after he tried to destroy unions in his state, but both Kasich and Ryan have looked especially happy this week as Christie’s woes have grown.
Neither would respond to media inquiries, but a source told us, “John (Kasich) has been walking on sunshine since the news broke. He cannot stop smiling and giggling. If you knew John, you’d know he isn’t normally like this. I am his friend and all but he can be a bit of a prick most of the time.”
Even potential Tea Party candidates’ spirits have been buoyed by bridgegate. Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio all brought in lunch for their staffs from area restaurants, closed the office and made everyone watch the nearly two-hour press conference Christie gave. Again, no one was willing to speak on the record about the situation or the news conference, but a junior level staffer did admit, “It was kind of like a party. They even had beer. I didn’t know the senator knew how to smile but I guess anything is possible.”
The Republican National Committee headquarters was silent on the issue and none of New Jersey’s GOP electeds or officials would comment, but Steve Lonegan, who ran against Cory Booker last fall, wasn’t so timid. The former candidate, who received a tepid endorsement from Christie and who openly admitted to liking Rand Paul more than his state’s governor told reporters, “That guy’s a real douchebag. I hope they run him out of the state, then I can run for governor and not settle for some crappy seat in the House.”