POLITICS
01/08/2014 06:46 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Chris Christie Was Leading In Polls By 25 Points During The Bridge Scandal

ASSOCIATED PRESS

When a top aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) decided to cause "traffic problems" in a town whose mayor declined to endorse the governor, it wasn't because Christie was in dire need of an extra electoral boost in his 2013 reelection campaign.

On Aug. 13, 2013, the day Christie's deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, wrote an email suggesting it was "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," Christie was leading his Democratic rival, Barbara Buono, by an average of about 27 points. On Sept. 8, when the closure of two of Fort Lee's access lanes to the busy George Washington Bridge were ordered, he was 25 points ahead.

"Christie-Buono looks like a walk-away. The governor's job approval is stratospheric," a pollster for Quinnipiac University wrote.

New Jersey State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg speculated to Talking Points Memo in December that Christie wanted to ensure his victory over Buono was a "complete wipeout," as well as build his image of bipartisanship by collecting endorsements from Democrats like Fort Lee's mayor, Mark Sokolich.

Christie ended up winning Fort Lee with about 55 percent of the vote.

Speaking on Wednesday night, Christie denied any involvement in the scandal, which he referred to as "inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct."

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