He looked like a go for attorney general based on what insiders universally assess as a sterling record and statehouse likeability, but the mood around Kevin O’Dowd’s nomination has decidedly darkened.
“He will not be the attorney general,” said a political insider, a Democrat, close to the process.
A Republican, also speaking on condition of anonymity and inside the halls of power offered a one-word snapshot of O’Dowd’s prospects: “Bleak.”
Both sources emphasized that at least by the reckoning of those close to the gears of government, it’s nothing O’Dowd did or didn’t fulfill as Christie’s chief-of-staff that will sink his AG chances.
It simply comes down to perception.
His job standing during the Bridgegate crisis as Bridget Kelly’s super inevitably puts him in the wheelhouse of controversy.
Kelly was the staffer who sent the now infamous email, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” to Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operative David Wildstein.
O’Dowd’s appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee would engage national media types looking to amp up the GWB narrative as Christie gallivants around the country.
A key Democrat said the nominee would likely pass, but not before getting beat up a bit in an effort to humiliate his boss for the national cameras.
Indeed, an O’Dowd hearing pre-November would give the media circus invitations to tar the chairman of the Republican Governors Association (RGA) in time for battleground results in states like Pennsylvania, Illinois, Arkansas, Connecticut, Wisconsin and others, where Christie desperately wants Republican wins.
Post November puts the media into the next cycle, wherein the governor would presumably be accelerating prez plans.
As respected as he is in the halls of power, O’Dowd won’t move forward, both sources insisted.