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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"Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, a Hudson County Democrat, is balking. He claimed Tuesday that members of his caucus are divided over the measure and that his house is in no real rush – besides, even if enacted this year, the reforms would not take effect until 2017, he said. And with the growing belief that Christie could skip town to run for president, some Democrats are not eager to give him another talking point for his résumé. Christie’s plans to stump for Republican candidates in New Hampshire later Thursday only fuel that suspicion." - columnist Charles Stile- The Bergen Record
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