Bridgegate Buzz Isn’t Over [AUDIO]
Gov. Chris Christie would prefer if Bridgegate were never mentioned again, but even with an internal report that clears the governor of any wrongdoing, the public probably won’t forget about the controversy any time soon.
Investigations into the September lane closures continue by the U.S. Attorney and a joint state legislative committee.
Political experts throughout New Jersey, say residents and voters alike understand there are still plenty of questions that haven’t been answered, such as why the Fort Lee lanes were closed and exactly who orchestrated the scheme.
“The report allows Christie to make a claim that he’s been exonerated, but the whole issue is going to be far from settled,” said Ben Dworkin, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University. “There is a tremendous amount of cynicism that remains, and that just means that all of government in Trenton — especially the Christie administration’s agenda — is going to be clouded by the story for an ongoing period of time.”
Dworkin pointed to groups of powerful interests, like Democrats in the state legislature and Republicans looking to defeat Christie if he were to be part of the 2016 presidential primary, who will make sure the scandal is at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
“For those who want to see this report as a whitewash, they will turn around and say, ‘Look, even if the governor wasn’t involved, this happened on his watch,’” Dworkin said.
Brigid Harrison, a professor of political science and law at Montclair State University, agreed most New Jerseyans will have a “jaundice eye” until the other investigations are complete. She suggested Christie’s press conference last Friday will be his final mention of the controversy for a while.
“Clearly he wants this to be over,” Harrison said. “I think that he will do everything he can to distance himself from this scandal in the days and weeks and months to come.”