By Ellen Cans
Bridget Anne Kelly, a former aide to Chris Christie who was entrenched in the “Bridgegate” scandal, may run for public office in New Jersey.
As reported by the NY Post, the Bergen County Republican Party asked Kelly if she would have an interest in running for county clerk. The county’s GOP officials did not ask anyone else to run for the position, which oversees county records. Kelly, 48, who lives in Ramsey, N.J and has four kids, has been a behind-the-scenes Republican political operative in the NJ government for decades and has never before run for public office. She indicated to the Post that she may be ready to attempt a political comeback. “I’m honored I was asked to run,” Kelly said on Sunday. “I should be allowed to rebuild my life.”
In 2013, Kelly had written the notorious email “Time for some Traffic Problems in Fort Lee” as part of a scheme that diverted traffic from the George Washington Bridge entrance into Fort Lee to allegedly exact political retribution against then Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing then-Gov. Chris Christie’s bid for re-election. Kelly was convicted together with Christie’s Port Authority executives Bill Baroni and David Wildstein for her role in the Fort Lee traffic jam plan. She had been sentenced to 13 months in jail, but last May, the US Supreme Court reversed the federal convictions against her and Baroni.
As per the Post, Kelly has continuously defended her role in the scandal, saying she became a convenient political scapegoat. She says that because of the ordeal she has had trouble gaining regular employment for the last seven years. “Gov. Christie is responsible for a lot of what happened,” Kelly said when asked of the Bridgegate scandal. “If Christie can run for president I should be able to run for county clerk.” Kelly has admitted that she is not guiltless and says she regrets sending the infamous email. “The email was quick-witted, poorly worded. Obviously I regret it,” she said. Christie has continuously claimed that he did not play a part in the traffic-jamming ploy, rather that it was carried out by key aides, whom he fired.
Bergen County Republican Party chairman Jack Zisa said he thinks Kelly is an able administrator who deserves a second chance. “I can absolutely say we encouraged Bridget to run. We’ve been rooting for her,” Zisa told The Post. “This is an opportunity for Bridget to get back into the political arena. This would be a political comeback and an opportunity for her to get on with her life.”