By David Cruz
If Lieutenant Gov. Kim Guadagno was worried about the allegations levied against her by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, she wasn’t showing it this morning. At an MLK Day of Service event in Union Beach, Guadagno was all smiles but turned serious when she made a statement refuting Zimmer’s claims.
“You need to hear me say this out loud and I will,” she told a crowd of media. “In short, Mayor Zimmer’s version of our conversation in May of 2013 is not only false but is illogical and does not withstand scrutiny when all of the facts are examined.”
After a weekend of appearances on national cable news channels and — she says — several hours talking to the U.S. Attorney yesterday, Zimmer’s voice was shot, said her spokesman. Instead, she issued a statement:
“I am genuinely disappointed that Lieutenant Gov. Guadagno has lived up to her promise that she would deny linking Hoboken’s application for Sandy…funding with expediting a private development project. I stand by my word…remain willing to testify under oath.”
The Christie administration says Zimmer is just another Democratic mayor piling on, jockeying for TV face time. They say that as recently as this summer, she was touting her close ties to Christie, and some have suggested that the mayor’s delay in reporting the alleged Christie pressure may have had more to do with her hope of riding Christie coattails in her own election in November. Hudson Reporter Political Columnist Al Sullivan has been covering Zimmer since she was a councilwoman.
“She arranged to have the last municipal election when Christie was at the top of the ticket,” noted Sullivan. “A lot of her base is Christie supporters. If she alienates that person before the election, she loses one of the advantes in her municipal election. So, they had to wait.”
Today, the governor dispatched Marc Ferzan — his Sandy relief funds Czar — to dispel the suggestion that Hoboken wasn’t seeing any Sandy money. He said millions have indeed gone out to individuals in Hoboken.
“Most of the programs are targeted to the individual,” acknowledged Ferzan, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Recovery & Rebuilding. “We’ve had very few programs, based on the limited resources we’ve had to date, very few programs where, beyond the FEMA public assistance programs grant process, we’ve been able to allocate funds to communities on a large scale.”
Despite winning Hoboken in November, Christie’s stock appears to be falling among some Hobokenites we talked to today, who say they believe Zimmer.
“I think Chris Christie needs to resign,” said David Mattingly, of Hoboken. “He is a liar. He is corrupt, and I think all of the people associated with him who are calling Dawn Zimmer a liar, are liars themselves and have to take a lie detector test to prove it.”
Whether you believe that Democrats are piling on or finally exposing a political bully, the fact is that, today, the conversation is less about Chris Christie’s inevitability as a presidential candidate and more about his viability as a presidential candidate.