GOP Consultants: Christie’s 2016 Prospects Are On ‘Life Support’

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie swears “there’s no baggage here” when it comes to a possible 2016 presidential run. But almost three-and-a-half months since “Bridgegate” broke into public view, Republican analysts and strategists are seeing it differently.

Christie once led the pack among GOP presidential hopefuls. But he has taken a beating in the polls and his reputation has faltered among the party faithful since questions emerged about his office’s connections to lane closures on the George Washington Bridge and the dispersal of hurricane relief funds.

Christie’s own internal investigation, conducted by a friendly law firm cost state taxpayers $1 million and concluded the governor was not involved, instead blaming others long associated with the bridge scandal. But federal prosecutors, a state legislative panel and now the Manhattan district attorney continue to dog Christie. Two ex-Christie advisers are seeking immunity in exchange for cooperating with those inquires, facts not lost on donors and the Republican establishment. 

Christie’s presidential prospects are on “life support,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell. “Time is not on Christie’s side. As long as there’s a perception of wrongdoing, it’s going to be very hard for him to win the nomination.”

“The perception of the abuse of government power is troubling for a lot of Republicans,” said O’Connell. “Christie was always going to have a problem with grassroots conservatives, but this gave them one more arrow in their quiver. Much of his selling point was ‘I can win a general election.’” Bridgegate disrupts that, he said.

Read more from Aliyah Frumin at MSNBC.com

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Analysis & Political Strategy