Year After Lanes Closed, Christie Back to Normal

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie appears to have largely moved past the lane-closing scandal that rocked his administration and threatened to derail his political career one year later. But many outside his tight inner circle are still waiting for investigations to conclude before making up their minds.

What happens next will depend largely on the outcome of the investigation by the U.S. Attorney in New Jersey into the lane realignments that started a year ago Tuesday on the George Washington Bridge. It’s not known when, or if, indictments could come.

After a self-imposed period of exile and contrition, Christie is back to his old self, warning calamity unless public workers accept another round of pension and benefits cuts and earning national headlines with footage of him blowing up at a New Jersey woman who dared to suggest that his musical idol didn’t want his music played at the Republican governor’s events.

“Christie’s strategy has been essentially to put it in the rearview mirror. I think it’s the right strategy.” said David Redlawsk, director of the local Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. “And so far, he’s been lucky that it’s working,”

From Jersey shore boardwalks to restaurants in early-voting states, Christie is constantly urged to run for president in 2016 — which he is publicly mulling. Nationally, he is bruised, but back to being considered a top-tier candidate for the Republican nomination. And locally, his poll numbers are back to where they were in the summer of 2012, before Superstorm Sandy sent them through the roof.

Still, many party heavyweights and GOP donors are waiting to see what develops before making their minds up about the governor.

“Nobody wants to start working for a candidate who may be tied up in ongoing, never-ending investigations,” said Steve Duprey, New Hampshire’s Republican National Committee member. “I think it’s sort of old news unless something new comes out,” he said.