New Jersey's GOP Congressmen Silent on Christie's Bridgegate
Wednesday, 15 January 2014
New Jersey's GOP Congressional delegation is mostly taking a "wait and see" approach to their governor's role in this month's traffic scandal and subsequent investigations into use of Hurricane Sandy funding.
While two representatives expressed hope that Christie would make the right choices, four have said nothing at all.
New Jersey's six Republican Congressmen have remained almost entirely tight-lipped since the first news surfaced of emails proving that senior officials in Christie's employment were involved in the closure of the George Washington Bridge last September that blocked traffic for four hours for political retribution. Two have commented – only one expressing vocal support for the governor – and four have not yet commented on the affair.
The CNN report that the federal government is investigating Christie's use of federal funding meant for Hurricane Sandy victims for an ad campaign starring himself has generated less media attention and remains unmentioned by the group.
By far the most supportive Republican Congressman has been Leonard Lance, who represents the western Seventh District. Rep. Lance called himself "one of Christie's 'strongest supporters'" and expressed hope in Christie's presidential aspirations still, because of his "decisive and immediate action" on the matter.
Yet Rep. Lance is the exception. The other Congressman to issue a statement on Christie is Rep. Frank LoBiondo, who received an endorsement from Christie just last week. On Twitter, the Congressman said that he "only know[s] what I read in papers." "All facts should come out & confident @GovChristie will take appropriate action," the tweet concluded.
When approached for any further comment, however, Rep. LoBiondo has given none. On the contrary, Buzzfeed reporter Kate Nocera accused the Congressman of running from her and Politico reporter Ginger Gibson in Washington when approached for comment. Rep. LoBiondo denied it in a reply tweet, explaining that he "exited bathroom, was late for meeting w/ Chairman on committee business."
Rep. LoBiondo's support of Christie is perhaps the most important of all on the list. Rep. LoBiondo represents New Jersey's Second District, one of the biggest in area and consisting of much of the southern half of the state. It is home to New Jersey's Western Shore and Cumberland County, the poorest county in the state. More than any other part of the state, the western shore had received insufficient funding to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy, as the Star-Ledger reported. Christening it the "forgotten shore," the Ledger reported that, since many of the state's most lucrative tourist areas are in the southeast, the western shore did not receive the attention or care it needed. If funds for Hurricane Sandy were misused by the Christie administration at any time, Rep. LoBiondo's constituents would have been by far the most hurt.
Christie promised to be "all in" for Rep. LoBiondo: "I am going to be working politically, I’m am [sic] going to be working to raise money, my organization is going to be engaged in helping to raise money."
Four Congressmen have remained silent on the scandal. Congressman Jon Runyan announced his retirement late last year, and as such is not expected to comment or have much of a high profile in Christie-headlined events. The three remaining Congressmen, like Rep. Runyan, have remained silent on the matter.
Unlike Rep. Runyan, however, these three Congressmen are not retiring and should have an extensive future working with Governor Christie. They have neither expressed trust in the Governor nor rebuked him, staying out of their state's biggest scandal in years entirely. Breitbart News contacted the offices of Reps. Chris Smith, Scott Garrett, and Rodney Frelinghuysen and at press time has yet to receive a response to our inquiries on Christie's current political situation.
Reps. Garrett and Frelinghuysen, while not publicly commenting on the matter, are expected at a fundraiser with the governor this week. Rep. Lance, the most vocal of the group, is also expected there; the fundraiser will aid the congressional campaign of former Senate candidate Steve Lonegan, who is running to replace the retiring Rep. Runyan.
In a state that has no Republicans in the Senate, these six Congressmen are all Christie has in his party on the national level. They have been, with the exception of Rep. Lance, slightly less than vociferous in backing Christie. This, coupled with the critical treatment the Governor has seen at the hands of a liberal media that fears him and a conservative media that hasn't trusted him since he welcomed President Obama to his state after Hurricane Sandy, only feeds the narrative that Christie is facing this scandal alone, the inevitable result of a combative and temperamental public tenure.