Ken Cuccinelli, the 2013 Republican gubernatorial candidate in Virginia, said Tuesday that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie should resign the chairmanship of the Republican Governors Association now that evidence has emerged tying the Christie administration to a politically motivated bridge closing.
Christie is under intense state and federal scrutiny after public revelations that his top aides last year closed access lanes between Fort Lee, N.J., and the George Washington Bridge to create gridlock and punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, possibly for not endorsing Christie's re-election.
That kind of scrutiny, Cuccinelli said on CNN's "Crossfire," could prove to be a distraction for Christie just as the newly minted RGA chairman has begun traveling the country on behalf of GOP gubernatorial candidates, duties that will give Christie access to a network of donors and activists he'd need to build a national campaign.
"I think just from the perspective of setting this aside as an issue in other races, it makes sense for him to step aside in that role," Cuccinelli said. "He has not served the goals of that organization by staying as chairman."
Christie, the only other governor up for election in 2013, chose not to campaign for Cuccinelli who was running in Virginia. Cuccinelli lost to Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, and his supporters have pointed to a lack of support from the national party as one of the reasons.
Cuccinelli's blunt remarks stand apart from the generally muted response from Republican governors since Christie two weeks ago apologized for the scandal while denying any prior knowledge of the plot.
Christie's RGA schedule has so far not been affected by the controversy, which the Democratically led New Jersey legislature has promised to continue to investigate. Christie traveled this past weekend to Florida to raise money for Florida Gov. Rick Scott and to meet with major Republican donors who are urging Christie to run for president in 2016.
This story was first published on Jan. 21 at 10:09 p.m.