The PJ Tatler

Hoboken Mayor's Shifting Christie Allegations

Allegations made by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer regarding the Christie administration threatening to hold up hurricane relief because she refused to sign off on a lucrative development project have made quite a splash in the press.

But that’s not the tune she was singing 8 days ago when she told reporters an entirely different story about the aid hold up. Guy Benson at Townhall reports:

Hmmm. A New Jersey reporter notes that Zimmer peddled a similar story, but with different details, to him eight days ago:

The story then was that the aid was not forthcoming because she refused to endorse Christie’s re-election.


So last week, Christie was withholding Sandy funding in retaliation for her lack of endorsement. Now she says it was all about a development deal. That’s a suspicious evolution.

Ye, “suspicious” — especially since she seems to have changed her tune after MSNBC contacted her for an interview. Do you suppose that had anything to do with it?

That’s not all. Back in August, she was positively gushing about Christie, although she felt constrained in overtly endorsing him because of the non-partisan nature of Hoboken’s mayoral race.

Zimmer tweeted:

Jenna Portnoy @jennaportnoy

[email protected] in Little Ferry for @GovChristie presser, but he can’t count on her formal support “I don’t expect to be endorsing,” she says

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Dawn Zimmer @dawnzimmernj

@jennaportnoy @govchristie He has done a great job for NJ & Hoboken. We have a non-partisan mayoral election on Nov 5th.
12:13 PM – 20 Aug 2013
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Dawn Zimmer @dawnzimmernj

To be clear I am very glad Governor Christie has been our Gov. I am not endorsing bc of Hob’s non-partisan mayoral race.
12:44 PM – 20 Aug 2013

It’s important to point out that Christie is suffering from guilt by association. Zimmer has never claimed that Christie was making these threats, just his Lt. governor and another aide.

But what makes this story resonate is that either explanation for the hold up of Sandy aid fits in with the general narrative of New Jersey politics. It’s not very difficult to imagine a politician threatening another over a lack of endorsement or for dragging their feet on a development project for a crony. This would be considered business as usual in New Jersey, although the level of hard ball being played is more impressive than just about anywhere else.

When former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevitch was on trial for corruption, part of his defense was that his “pay to play” schemes weren’t unusual, that this was how politics was played in Illinois. The judge and jury didn’t buy it and now Blago is making license plates in prison downstate.

Corrupt politics has its own logic, makes its own rules. I don’t know if Christie threatened to withhold hurricane relief from a small town for petty, political reasons or worse. I’m not sure Zimmer herself isn’t fudging the truth for the benefit of MSNBC and other partisan media outlets.

But perhaps we haven’t been looking at Christie in the same way we wished the press would have viewed Obama back in 2008 — as a creature of a corrupt political environment who couldn’t be trusted with national office.

If elected, would Christie adopt a “New Jersey Way” of solving political problems? Something to consider before the primaries roll around next year.

Hat Tip: Jazz Shaw