Days after federal prosecutors brought charges against three of his former allies, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie insisted in this first-in-the-nation primary state that his response to the “Bridgegate” scandal proves his leadership bona fides.
Christie was responding to a question from msnbc during a Q&A with reporters about what he would say to critics who contend that even if he didn’t know about the 2013 lane closure scandal – carried out by some of his staffers and allies, seemingly for political retribution – it raises red flags about who he’d allow to be on his central team if he does run for president in 2016.
Still, polls in the wake of the Bridgegate indictments have left the Republican’s numbers in a freefall in his home state. But when it comes to his potential 2016 campaign, Christie is still pressing onward, holding six stops Thursday and Friday in New Hampshire which is emerging as the do-or-die state for the embattled governor. Even in the Granite State, where the governor – a fellow northeastern Republican – could conceivably do well, he’s only polling at 3% among likely Republican voters and in 10th place overall among the emerging GOP field, according to a new survey by WMUR.
Christie is “literally on his last leg,” said Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist who served on John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008. O’Connell said that while the latest indictments certainly don’t help the governor, the bigger problems he faces are his state’s economic woes and his decreasing popularity back at home. “But as long as he’s not indicted, he still has a chance,” O’Connell added.