CHICAGO (CBS) — New Jersey Governor Chris Christie visited Chicago Tuesday, raising money for Republican candidates while trying to steer clear of questions about the bridgegate controversy.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports that of Illinois’ 4 GOP gubernatorial candidates, only Pat Brady was in attendance.
The others busy campaigning downstate or meeting privately with the Governor who was once considered the frontrunner for their 2016 GOP Presidential nomination until the scandal over political payback traffic jams.
Christie once again blamed those massive traffic jams around the George Washington Bridge on errors in judgment by people who worked for him and have since been fired. And says he’s moved on, governing the traditionally Democratic state, as he told the GOP hopefuls here, they could too.
“Have faith baby, I won twice in New Jersey, that’s what I would say to them, it can happen,” said Christie.
“Frankly, I don’t know why the others weren’t here but I’ll leave that up to them,” said Bill Brady
Bill Brady, the only candidate at the event, is now running second in a new Chicago Tribune poll, but 20 points behind frontrunner Bruce Rauner, said he’s not throwing in the towel.
“Frankly, Mr. Rauner is only there because of his unlimited checkbook and we’ll deal with that,” said Brady.
Rauner continues to pour money into TV spots, having spent more than $4 million, while bypassing most candidate forums and virtually all contact with reporters.
“It’s getting close to being over but you know there’s five weeks to go and in a Republican primary, anything can happen,” said Pat Brady
One wild card about to be played is a million dollar TV campaign from traditional Democratic union leaders.
“For the union leadership, not the rank-and-file, the leadership, Bruce Rauner is their worst nightmare because he represents true reform and I don’t think they want that,” said Pat Brady.
Reform like Chris Christie brought to New Jersey.
“I didn’t get everything I wanted but we got a significant amount of what we needed to do,” said Christie.
A couple of months ago, a photo op with Christie would have been prized. And may yet again down the road, but right now, Bridgegate is the subject of state and federal investigations and Christie himself is neither taking questions nor posing for many candidate pictures.