NEW YORK (AP) — Republican New York gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino said Tuesday that he believes New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie won’t support him because of the ongoing traffic jams scandal in New Jersey.
Astorino suggested that his opponent, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, “has something” on the New Jersey governor and that Christie should resign his post as head of the Republican Governors Association if he won’t try to win New York’s statehouse for the GOP.
“I don’t know if there’s a connection with him and Andrew Cuomo on Bridgegate or if Cuomo has something that he’s holding back, information that could be damaging to the governor,” Astorino speculated at a Manhattan news conference.
Astorino did not say what he thought Cuomo might know about the political flap over lane closures near the George Washington Bridge. The bridge is run by the Port Authority, which is managed jointly by New York and New Jersey and is run by appointees of both governors.
There are several ongoing investigations into the scandal, which has threatened to undermine Christie’s possible 2016 presidential bid. Christie’s spokeswoman declined to comment Tuesday on Astorino’s allegations.
Christie said Monday that he would not support Astorino because the race was “a lost cause.” Astorino trails Cuomo by nearly 40 points in the polls but pointed to Christie’s own underdog victory as inspiration for an improbable victory.
“Chris Christie forgot where he came from. In 2009 when nobody thought he’d beat Gov. Corzine, he worked hard, he got through the summer, things changed dramatically in the fall,” Astorino said.
“If Gov. Christie is unable to help a Republican candidate for governor, maybe he should consider stepping down as chairman of the RGA,” Astorino continued. “That’s his job, to go around the country. I would welcome the governor to come here to New York to assist us.”
Astorino made his declaration during an unusual joint news conference with Zephyr Teachout, a little-known Democratic contender for governor. The two spoke at Tweed Courthouse, named after William “Boss” Tweed,” the head of an infamous 1860s political machine, in order to highlight allegations of ethical misconduct against Cuomo.
A spokesman for Cuomo declined to comment.