How New Jersey’s largest paper ‘blew this one’ by endorsing Chris Christie

New Jersey's largest newspaper regrets its decision to endorse New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) for reelection last year, the paper's editorial page editor wrote in a piece published Sunday.

Newark Star-Ledger editorial page editor Tom Moran writes that picking Christie over Democrat Barbara Buono earned him a great deal of criticism from liberals last year. He pushed back in 2013, he explained. But now, in light of a bridge scandal involving former aides to the governor, the paper is second-guessing it's choice. Here's Moran:

An endorsement is not a love embrace. It is a choice between two flawed human beings. And the winner is often the less bad option.

But yes, we blew this one. When the endorsement ran, I could not get a cup of coffee in the People’s Republic of Montclair without my liberal friends taunting me. Back then, I pushed back.

Yes, we knew Christie was a bully. But we didn’t know his crew was crazy enough to put people’s lives at risk in Fort Lee as a means to pressure the mayor. We didn’t know he would use Hurricane Sandy aid as a political slush fund. And we certainly didn’t know that Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer was sitting on a credible charge of extortion by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.

Moran says the endorsement was a tough choice even before the emergence of the bridge scandal, in which former Christie aides and appointees snarled traffic in Fort Lee, an apparently politically motivated move.

"This is not about who we like better. Christie has boycotted the editorial board for years, an attempt to bully us into more loving coverage. So we’ve had a front-row view of what a creep he can be. Buono is the more likable person by far," writes Moran.

Despite his criticism of Christie, Moran concludes that he would still pick the governor over Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in a presidential primary.

"At the risk of repeating a mistake, I’d pick Christie in that primary, even now. And if you think that makes some sense, then you understand how excruciating the endorsement process can be," Moran writes.

Christie's office had no comment on Moran's piece.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

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Sean Sullivan · February 9, 2014

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