N.J. mayor now says Christie team sought his support

FORT LEE, N.J. — The mayor of the New Jersey city apparently targeted for political retribution by Gov. Chris Christie’s administration said Monday that he was asked if he would consider endorsing the governor for re-election, an apparent shift away from his assertion last week that Christie’s campaign never sought his support.

The mayor, Mark Sokolich of Fort Lee, said his response was that “it was something I’d consider.” He ended up backing fellow Democrat Barbara Buono in the November election.

Last week in an interview on CNN, the mayor said he could not recall “a specific request to endorse” but that other events could be seen as an attempt to attract his endorsement.

Sokolich confirmed other media reports that he was approached, but he didn’t say why he had changed his account. The mayor, who was interviewed at his law office, declined to answer other questions about his interaction with the campaign.

Documents released last week showed that Christie loyalists engineered September lane closings in Fort Lee that caused massive gridlock, which the mayor interpreted as political punishment.

Christie, a Republican, said last week that Sokolich had never been mentioned to him as somebody whose endorsement his campaign was pursuing.

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