Republican sources describe Bridget Anne Kelly as a Bergen County political expert who had Bill Stepien’s trust when she coordinated the Christie campaign in 2009.
She went to the administration because Stepien trusted her based on her work in Bergen, two sources say.
According to documents obtained by PolitickerNJ, Kelly is Gov. Christie’s deputy chief of staff who told Port Authority official David Wildstein that it was time for a traffic snarl in Fort Lee prior to the Port Authority ordering lane closures at the George Washington Bridge.
A former aide to Assemblyman David Russo (R-40), Kelly was “joined at the hip” to Stepien, both sources said.
A former deputy chief of staff to the governor, Stepien was Christie’s campaign manager last year and is the party’s nominee to succeed Sam Raia as state party chair.
Last year, he accepted an advisory position with the Republican Governor’s Asociation.
A source close to Kelly said Stepien trusted her political instincts in Bergen in part because Kelly knew the territory in a very difficult political environment dominated by factions.
“Bill has always been her benefactor,” one source said.
Kelly was still with Russo’s office in 2009 when she started phone-banking for the Christie campaign.
“She had been involved in Bergen politics for a while and knew a lot of Bergen players,” the source said. “She was a good asset for Bill, constantly [giving] him intel.”
She went to the administration soon after Christie won his 2009 bid for governor.
Another source told PolitickerNJ that Kelly's ascent to the governor's inner circle surprised party members who believed long-time GOP loyalist Amanda Gasperino deserved a shot.
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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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