John DiStaso's Granite Status: NHGOP executive director subpoenaed in probe of Christie administration 'Bridgegate' scandal
FRIDAY, JAN. 17: VLACHICH IS SHAHEEN'S CAMPAIGN MANAGER. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said Friday her Senate office state director, Mike Vlachich, is moving to head her reelection effort as campaign manager.
A New Hampshire GOP source said Mowers learned of the subpoena on Thursday evening from committee officials in the Garden State.
(FRIDAY, JAN. 17, UPDATE: The NHGOP confirmed Friday that Mowers' subpoena at this point involves only texts and emails he may have exchanged prior to the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge. However, the source pointed out, based on the content of those documents, Mowers may be asked to testify at a later date.)
But no reports have tied Mowers to the retribution exacted against Sokolich for failing to back Christie by some of the governor's staffers, ordering the closure of approach lanes to the busy George Washington Bridge in September.
A subpoena does not necessarily mean Mowers has been accused of wrongdoing, but rather that he is being ordered to appear before the investigating legislative committee to answer questions, or, in this case at this point, to provide texts and emails.
Prior to working for Christie's campaign last year, Mowers worked in his office as a regional governmental relations director for an area that included Fort Lee.
In that state government role, Mowers worked for at least a year, and possibly more, under Bridget Anne Kelly, the Christie deputy chief of staff who Christie fired last week as the governor and possible 2016 presidential contender acknowledged that some members of his staff were involved in the lane closures.
New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Jennifer Horn issued the following statement Thursday evening:
"Matt is an extremely talented worker and a valued member of our team. He has not been accused of any wrongdoing and there is zero indication that he is in anyway connected to the decision to close the bridge lanes.
"Partisan hacks will try to shamelessly exploit this issue to distract from the Jeanne Shaheen's disastrous deciding vote for ObamaCare. But it will do nothing to help the thousands of Granite State families who have lost their health insurance because Shaheen's blind support for the failed Obama health care agenda.
"Matt has my full support and confidence, and I look forward to his continued service to our party."
New Hampshire Democratic Party communications director Harrell Kirstein issued this statement:
Matt Mowers spent years working directly under now-disgraced aides of Chris Christie, and we are all left to wonder what dirty tricks they taught him and what plans he has to use them in New Hampshire.
"It has been more than a full week since this venomous political revenge scheme was revealed and Granite Staters deserve to know about Mowers's role in Christie's growing bridge scandal. He and the NHGOP leadership should come clean and answer some basic questions for the people of New Hampshire."
(Earlier Granite Status reports follow.)
THURSDAY, JAN. 16, UPDATE: BIG MONEY FOR SHAHEEN. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's campaign says its year-end fund-raising report will show she raised $1.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 and a total of $5.8 million since being elected in 2008.
The poll of more than 1,300 Granite States Jan. 9-12 has Shaheen at 46 percent and Brown at 43 percent. The poll has a margin of error of 2.7 percent.
Also, the poll shows Brown, who has not announced (yet) for the seat, far ahead of announced candidates Bob Smith and Andy Martin, 42 to 11 percent, and further ahead of the others.
Shaheen holds double-digit leads over Smith, Rubens and Testerman in head-to-head match-ups.
Democrats say it's telling that the Brown-Shaheen numbers are virtually unchanged since the last PPP poll last September, when Shaheen led, 48 to 44 percent, because since then, conservative groups have spent more than $500,000 in negative ads, related to the Affordable Care Act, focused on her.
But Republicans say the numbers are a "disaster" for Shaheen because she is below the 50 percent threshold after serving as a three-term governor and a U.S. Senator. Brown, they point out, has been a resident of the state for less than a month.
A potential trouble spot for Brown is that 48 percent of GOP Senate primary voters polled said they'd be less likely to vote for a candidate who backed an "assault" weapons ban, while 21 percent said it would make no difference.