Bridget Anne Kelly announces return to politics following Bridgegate scandal
A former Chris Christie ally who was embroiled in the Bridgegate scandal is ready to start her second act in politics. Bridget Anne Kelly is running for Bergen County clerk and made her first campaign speech this week.
“I’m still here, and I’m still standing,” Kelly said.
Kelly gave her speech at the Bergen County GOP headquarters in Hackensack.
“There was a hesitation – not only my kids, but I had to talk to my parents. My parents, my aunt – they went through hell,” Kelly says.
It has been seven years since Kelly’s “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email went viral around the world. She will be running for the Bergen County clerk position as a Republican. She says that despite the scandal, voters can trust her.
“I would say more so probably now than before. I’ve seen bad government, and I’ve seen corrupt politicians. And if I have something to prove and if I need to prove my worth to people, I’m happy to do that,” she says.
The United States Supreme Court threw out her federal conviction last May in a unanimous vote. The court also threw out the conviction of her co-defendant and former Port Authority executive Bill Baroni.
“Fort Lee is in Bergen County, so I’m going to have to do a lot of talking to people. And I’m OK with that. I wanted them to know Bridget Kelly and not the Bridget Kelly that the narrative was created, and I have no problem going into Fort Lee and talking about it. But being humble about it."
If Kelly gets the nomination in November, she would face the current Bergen County clerk, Democrat John Hogan.
Hogan said in a statement on Friday, "Bridget Kelly is entitled to try and get her life back together and I wish her the best in that regard. But the people here in Bergen County who had to deal with the Bridgegate scandal up close are never going to forgive her for her role in punishing them to further Chris Christie's vindictive agenda."
“There were a lot of people who struggled that day and I know that,” Kelly says.
When asked if she would apologize to those people, Kelly said, “I would apologize for trusting people, yes. And for my poorly worded email. Yes, but I’m not going to apologize for something I didn’t do.”
Kelly says that there will be those who will make this campaign about her past, but that she is choosing to make it about the future of Bergen County.
“It’s how I see running. It’s being ethically appropriate. It’s being smart financially and being accountable to the taxpayers. They’re my boss,” she says.
Neither Kelly nor Hogan currently faces any opposition in the primary.