Rachel Maddow Floats New Theory on Christie Scandal

Governor's team may have been targeting state lawmaker, not mayor
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2014 4:00 PM CST
Rachel Maddow Floats New Theory on Christie Scandal
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie greets state Sen. Loretta Weinberg on Jan. 8, 2013.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

So why did Chris Christie's camp jam the George Washington Bridge? The most common explanation is that it was political retribution against Fort Lee's Democratic mayor for not endorsing the governor. But a theory floated by Rachel Maddow last night on MSNBC is getting plenty of buzz today as an alternative. The real target, she suggests, might have been the leader of New Jersey's Democrats in the Senate, Loretta Weinberg, who, yes, represents Fort Lee. Why? It all stems from a nasty feud between Christie and state Democrats over judicial appointments.

This nastiness started in 2010—when Christie ticked off Democrats by taking the unprecedented step of not reappointing a state Supreme Court justice—but flash forward to Aug. 12, 2013. Knowing that Democrats were going to exact revenge by tanking his reappointment of a GOP judge, Christie withdrew the judge's name and called a news conference to blast Democrats. He was seething. As Maddow points out, the notorious "time for some traffic in Fort Lee" message went out early the next morning. Was Weinberg the target? “Until someone who knows the actual truth about this speaks, it remains a wide-open question," said Maddow. Mediaite finds the theory "plausible," while Brad Friedman at Salon writes that it's "smart, good reporting, might make more 'sense' out of this entire matter, and is certainly worthy of further inquiry." Either way, be sure to check out the coming New Yorker cover of Christie playing in traffic. (More Chris Christie stories.)

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