TRENTON – A former Gov. Chris Christie campaign staffer described Tuesday being “dumbfounded and disappointed” by the George Washington Bridge lane closures and subsequent fallout that’s engulfed the administration he worked to get re-elected to a second term.
Matt Mowers, who worked on the Christie campaign after spending more than two years working with the administration’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, told lawmakers the lane closures did “not make any sense.” The former staffer, who now works as the executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party, was the person who approached Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich about endorsing Christie.
“Today, I sit here dumbfounded and disappointed that the actions seemingly taken by a few rouge individuals have tainted the good work that so many have done on behalf of the residents of New Jersey,” Mowers said during his opening testimony.
“I am disheartened and disappointed by the events I have read about in the press,” he said. “Like all of you, I watched this story unfold through various media reports over the last six months.”
There was little internal backlash over the unlikelihood of Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor endorsing Christie, Mowers told lawmakers.
“Mayor Sokolich was candid and told me in no uncertain terms that he could not endorse the governor in the Spring of 2013 [and] at that point, I did not view an endorsement as a possibility,” he said. “Upon passing this information to others, no one I spoke with seemed overly interested or concerned. In addition, to my knowledge the campaign never raised the issue with me or the mayor again.”
The Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, which acted as a go-between for municipal leaders and the Christie administration, was headed by Bridget Anne Kelly during the time of the lane closures.