Another day, another example of how you should never, ever stumble into scandal when the NJ/NY/PA press corps is watching. Today’s colorful development in the Chris Christie drama comes from Matt Friedman at the Star-Ledger, who reached Olympian runner Carl Lewis at his new home (in Houston, ouch) and heard a tale of gubernatorial intimidation. You see, in 2011, Lewis decided to run for one of New Jersey’s state Senate seats, and—as was reported at the time—this appeared to cost him a little gig as a state “youth fitness ambassador.” But there was more, left untold:
In April 2011, word got out that Lewis — who grew up in Willingboro — was considering a run for state Senate as a Democrat against Christie’s friend, state Sen. Dawn Addiego (R-Burlington). After Walker got concerned phone calls from a Christie aide, Lewis said he heard from Christie himself.
“I thought it was going just fine. And when I started to run, when he talked to me on the phone that night, he said ‘If you run, we’re going to have to cancel the program,’ ” Lewis said. … “A lot of people said ‘He didn’t do that, he didn’t say that.’ I could have beat that drum forever and most people would not have believed it. Now you’re calling me to ask about it because it’s a lot more plausible. Now it makes sense.”
We’re two weeks into the story, and the well of former Christie rivals, from Dick Codey down to failed state Senate candidates, has not run dry. I’m sympathetic to David Plotz’s argument that this sort of browbeating is an essential part of politics. But that’s not how the news cycle works.
And anyway, it got worse for Christie:
The governor could not bring himself to watch the traffic jam-themed parody of “Born to Run” sung by his idol, Bruce Springsteen, on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,” though he was told by his college-age son, Andrew, that it was funny.
This was before the governor’s planned inaugural celebration at Ellis Island was canceled due to weather panic.