Christie Addresses 'Bridgegate' Scandal at Fundraiser

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-01_f490fd986b.jpgABC News (MOUNTAIN LAKES, N.J.) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addressed the ongoing lane closures scandal at a fundraiser Thursday evening for former U.S. Senate candidate and onetime rival, Steve Lonegan. "It's unfortunate, it was a mistake, it was obviously upsetting," Lonegan told reporters Christie said at the event.

"He said we have 1,400 days in this administration and lots of challenges for the governing of this state and we will continue to move ahead and those successes over time will overshadow all this negativity."

Christie spent about 30 minutes at the event where he addressed between 75 and 100 people, according to Lonegan and another host of the event, Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J. Lonegan is running a somewhat controversial campaign for Congress in South Jersey's 3rd district, but the $1,000 a head fundraiser Thursday evening was to relieve his debt from his Senate campaign.  He ran for U.S. Senate in the special Senate election to fill Sen. Frank Lautenberg's seat, losing to former Newark Mayor Cory Booker in October.

"I think everybody came out of this event feeling really good and also feeling that the governor is confident that he will make his way through this little blip on the screen, this scandal, so-called scandal and we think that the Democrats will be yelling and screaming long after the public has stood up for the governor and recognized he is right," said Lonegan.

Lonegan added that Christie seemed "unruffled over the issues that are taking place today" and Lance agreed, saying he was "positive and optimistic about the future."

Lonegan continued, saying Christie spoke of his "successful administration" acknowledging "there are still challenges ahead."

"And over all when you look at this the success of governing it has been terrific and it's going to continue to be terrific because he has 1,400 days to go in this administration and this is only going to be a few days in these 1,400 days," said Lonegan.

Lonegan, who ran against Christie for the 2009 GOP gubernatorial nomination, noted that he believed the event will most likely retire his campaign debt and he called the controversy known as "bridgegate" nothing more than "partisan politics at its worse."

"It's just theatrics," Lonegan said.  "This governor is confident, you can tell from his demeanor.  He was saddened by having to let key people go, but he didn't know about this and it was one of these unfortunate instances, but it will be behind us and every day it's going to fade and fade.  They can have all their bogus investigations and their hearings, but it is all political theatrics."

Tom Considine, a former Christie administration cabinet member, also attended the fundraiser and said the New Jersey governor "didn't shy away that it has been a turbulent week for the administration, but the commitment of the administration and the governor personally to remain dedicated to the work that he and the administration are committed to for the people of New Jersey are paramount."

Considine, who now is now the COO of a health care company, said he could "not imagine" that Christie had any "knowledge" of the political motivations of aides who shut down lanes leading up to the George Washington Bridge causing a four-day traffic snarl, adding that Christie is "not a micro-manager at all."

Considine said he knows the two top aides implicated in the scandal, former Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Ann Kelly and former campaign manager Bill Stepien, saying he is "surprised" by what happened.

"I am surprised and I am disappointed the way the governor is and the way many people are," Considine said, adding that he couldn't "speculate" on their possible motivations.

The event was held at the home of the other hosts of the evening, Jacobs Levy equity management firm co-founder Kenneth Levy and his wife Frayda Levin, a director of the conservative Koch Brothers' group Americans for Prosperity, where Lonegan also used to work.

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