N.H. state GOP Executive Director Matt Mowers a former Chris Christie campaign worker
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie answers a question during a news conference Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, at the Statehouse in Trenton. Christie has fired a top aide who engineered political payback against a town mayor, saying she lied. Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly is the latest casualty in a widening scandal that threatens to upend Christie's second term and likely run for president in 2016. Documents show she arranged traffic jams to punish the mayor, who didn't endorse Christie for re-election. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
(Photo from LinkedIn)
The executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party worked for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election campaign last year and, according to press reports, approached the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., about an endorsement.
The lack of that endorsement led to lane closings on the George Washington Bridge as political retaliation. The reason for the lane closings became public last week, leading to the firing of a top Christie aide who ordered the retaliation, a federal investigation and national attention for the New Jersey governor.
Matt Mowers worked for Christie’s re-election campaign before moving to New Hampshire to become executive director of the state Republican Party. The party announced his hiring in November, the same week that Christie won a second term as governor of New Jersey.
The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Mowers reached out to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich and said that Christie would welcome an endorsement. Sokolich, a Democrat, did not respond to that request. He has said he was never directly asked for an endorsement.
Mowers was a regional political director for Christie’s campaign last year, according to his LinkedIn profile. He also worked in Christie’s administration from November 2010 until he began working for the campaign last April.
Jennifer Horn, chairwoman of the state Republican Party, issued a statement yesterday that defended Mowers.
“Matt is an extremely talented young man and he has been a tremendous addition to our team,” Horn said. “He is going to continue to make a valuable contribution to our party and help us defeat the Democrats in November and restore fiscal responsibility to our government.”
Horn did not address Mowers’s role in the Christie campaign, and Mowers did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.
The New Hampshire Democratic Party responded quickly to news reports involving Mowers, demanding answers from the state’s Republicans.
“Matt Mowers spent years working under now-disgraced aides of Chris Christie, and we are all left to wonder what dirty tricks they taught him and what plans he has to use them in New Hampshire,” said Harrell Kirstein, the state Democratic Party spokesman. “Granite Staters deserve to know about Mowers’s role in Christie’s growing bridge scandal.”
Horn, in turn, responded to the Democrats’ attacks.
“Democrats are desperate to distract from the fact that (Democratic Sen.) Jeanne Shaheen lied to New Hampshire about the disastrous consequences of Obamacare,” Horn said.