Republican state senators ripped Gov. Chris Christie’s political strategists behind the scenes as they defended state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-21) and restored him to another term as Senate minority leader, according to sources in the caucus room.
State Sen. Sam Thompson (R-18), the chairman of the Middlesex County GOP, Sen. Chris Connors (R-11) and Sen. Bob Singer (R-30) all contributed to a lively caucus discussion with criticism of the governor’s re-election strategy.
It should be noted that a source close to Singer later told PolitickerNJ.com that the senator was positive about Kean only, not critical of the governor's campaign.
Members questioned the bipartisan messaging coming out of the governor’s campaign, and cited that as a factor in Kean’s added burden.
Caucus members said they appreciated Kean’s efforts to build the party while up against the massive challenge of a legislative map not in the GOP’s favor.
Ten of the caucus’s 16 senators agreed that Kean would handle Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) better than would Kean’s challenger, state Sen. Kevin O’Toole (R-40), a staunch inner circle ally of the governor’s.
Standing with O’Toole in defeat were state Sen. Mike Doherty (R-23), state Sen. Dawn Addiego (R-8), Sen. Kip Bateman (R-16), Sen. Steve Oroho (R-24) and state Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-13).
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"Christie’s method for coping with scandal has been more complicated. In January, the seemingly-local issue of lane closings on the George Washington Bridge, which created a massive traffic jam in the Hudson River town of Fort Lee, became one of national interest when it was revealed that one of Christie’s closest staffers had ordered them—for what looked like political retribution against a Democratic mayor. The scandal was quickly dubbed 'Bridgegate,' and unfortunately for Christie, it played into his reputation as a bully. Christie's response was to act unlike himself: humble." - Olivia Nuzzi- The Daily Beast
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