Christie Orchestrated Van Drew Party Switch As “Bridgegate” SCOTUS Hearing Loomed
Van Drew Takes Sage Advice from Embattled Former Governor Weeks Before Oral Arguments Launched “Bridgegate” Scandal Back In News
The Jefferson Van Drew party switch storyline just got a little more interesting…
Last month, the New York Times noted that “it was Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, and Mr. Stepien who helped orchestrate Mr. Van Drew’s party switch. They began laying the groundwork in late October…”
REMINDER: After Van Drew’s own internal polling showed that voters wanted a new representative by a nearly 17 percent margin, the Democrat begged loyal staffers to switch parties with him. Staffers refused, saying doing so did not “align with the values” they brought to the office.
And yesterday, Chris Christie, New Jersey’s infamous former governor, made a surprise appearance at the U.S. Supreme Court for “Bridgegate” oral arguments, just in time to remind the world and New Jersey voters that the scandal disrupted his entire political career.
In 2013, Chris Christie allegedly threw loyal staffers under the bus, forcing them to take the fall in his scheme to punish a political rival.
Christie’s court visit comes just weeks after Van Drew made the decision, on the advice of Christie, to abandon his principles and top aides to switch parties.
“Following in the footsteps of and taking political advice from someone whose own promising career went up in flames seems unwise, but if he likes it, we love it,” said DCCC Spokesperson Christine Bennett.
READ MORE ABOUT CHRISTIE’S ROLE HERE:
By Elaina Plott | Jan. 10, 2020
AVALON, N.J. — President Trump has few reservations about undermining members of his own party, and David Richter was no exception.
Mr. Richter, a millionaire former chief executive of one of the nation’s largest construction companies, for months had been considered the front-runner in the 2020 Republican primary for New Jersey’s Second Congressional District.
There had been no classes on this when Mr. Richter attended Harvard’s Kennedy School — what to do when your presumed general election opponent, once denounced by Republicans for his “socialist policies,” is suddenly your party’s hero, beaming alongside the president in an Oval Office chair typically reserved for visiting heads of state.
It didn’t matter that in his one term in Congress, Mr. Van Drew had stuck with Democrats on issues like Mr. Trump’s border wall, or that he’d endorsed Senator Cory Booker for president. What mattered was that Mr. Trump had spoken.
In some ways, Mr. Richter and the Trump world have been at odds from the beginning. It was Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, and Mr. Stepien who helped orchestrate Mr. Van Drew’s party switch. They began laying the groundwork in late October after Mr. Van Drew voted against formalizing the impeachment inquiry, one of just two Democrats to do so.
The nudge Mr. Van Drew needed came from his own polling, which showed support among Democratic voters in his district cratering if he ultimately voted against impeaching the president. Ms. Conway, who is also from South Jersey, was one of his first calls. On the night of Dec. 12, he told Ms. Conway, who was standing next to Mr. Christie at the time, that he was ready to pull the trigger. The plan was finalized in the White House residence the next morning: Mr. Van Drew would break with the Democrats on impeachment and join the president shortly after to announce his new affiliation.
Mr. Richter, for his part, remains careful to temper his criticism of the White House, and to clarify that he understands why Mr. Trump made the decision he did, and to say that he doesn’t fault him for it. He credits the ordeal as yet another byproduct of “the swamp,” a tale of what happens when leaders like Mr. Van Drew are no longer “loyal to their principles.”