On one end of the damning email at the center of Gov. Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal was a low-profile aide who was known to shun the sharp-elbowed style of her peers.
On the other was a once high-flying political star who landed at the Port Authority as a handpicked Christie appointee.
Now, Bridget Anne Kelly and David Wildstein are both unemployed.
Wildstein, the 51-year-old Port Authority exec, resigned from his $ 150,000-a-year post last month.
Kelly, the 41-year-old top adviser to the New Jersey governor, was fired Thursday morning, a day after she was outed as the source of the email ordering the partial shutdown of the George Washington Bridge.
Livingston High School
Chris Christie (left) and David Wildstein in yearbook photos for Livingston High School in Livingston, N.J.
The stunning fall of the suburban mother of four has jolted her family and shocked longtime Garden State insiders.
“The administration doing this doesn’t surprise me. Bridget Kelly — that does surprise me,” said Jeff Tittel, the director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, who has worked closely with Kelly for years.
“I don’t believe she would do this on her own,” added Tittel. “I just don’t see her having this kind of side to her.”
Kelly’s role in the mushrooming scandal torpedoed a once-promising political career that included stints with John McCain and ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
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Bridget Anne Kelly, with her four children, was a quiet political operative who climbed high in Gov. Christie’s administration.
“We’re just praying for her, and my son and the four children,” said her ex-father-in-law, William Kelly.
“We’re just praying for them.”
Kelly was a seasoned political operative.
Before joining Christie’s team, she was active in local New Jersey politics and worked on McCain’s presidential campaign.
Kelly was hired by Christie as his director of legislative relations in 2010.
New York Daily News
David Letterman had no trouble poking fun at the portly governor of New Jersey Thursday night.
The Ramsey, N.J., native was promoted to deputy chief of staff last April — a position that paid $ 114,000 a year.
She was seen as one of Christie’s closest advisers, a polished insider who steered clear of the media and acted as the governor’s liaison to other government agencies.
Among the photos she posted on Twitter was a pic of her celebrating her 40th birthday with Christie and other staffers at a restaurant.
“She’s had a very low profile,” said Patrick Murray, founding director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “She’s really worked her way up very quietly.”
Mount Saint Mary’s College
Yearbook photo of Bridget Anne Daul Kelly from her Mount Saint Mary’s College, where she studied political science.
Wildstein also operated under the radar in recent years.
But Christie, in between apologies Thursday, tossed his onetime Livingston High School classmate under the bus.
The pair were mere passing acquaintances rather than friends, and didn’t see each other for 23 years after high school, Christie said.
“I was class president and an athlete in high school,” crowed Christie in dismissing Wildstein. “I don’t know what he was doing.”
Bill Denver For NY Daily News
Former Christie classmate David Wildstein’s spacious Montville, N.J., home.
A former mayor of Livingston who was known for his brashness and ambition, Wildstein morphed into a New Jersey political svengali.
He operated in secrecy running an influential website, PolitickerNJ.com, where he chronicled state politics and saucy political gossip under the pen name Wally Edge.
Wildstein was outed in June 2010, just after he was named the director of interstate capital projects at the Port Authority.
He quickly retreated back into the shadows, rarely attending the agency’s public events or speaking to the press.
Critics claimed Wildstein was more interested in carrying out the agenda of his old GOP buddy rather than working to improve the oft-beleaguered bistate agency.
William Thomas Cain/Getty Images
David Wildstein (right) was the director of interstate capital projects for the Port Authority before he resigned over the George Washington Bridge lane closures that have now led to Bridgegate.
A Port Authority source said that Wildstein, after setting in motion the George Washington Bridge traffic nightmare, actually drove to the bridge to get a first-hand glimpse of the chaos.
“Wildstein is a sociopath,” the source said.
Both Wildstein and Kelly remained in hiding Thursday.
Kelly’s Twitter and LinkedIn accounts disappeared Thursday morning — and there was no answer at her home in Ramsey.
Fired Christie adviser Bridget Ann Kelly was not available at her modest Ramsey, N.J. home (pictured).
“I have no comment,” a man believed to be Kelly’s dad, Richard Daul, said outside of his house just a few miles away.
Records show that Kelly’s golf pro husband, Joe Kelly, the general manager of the Mendham Golf & Tennis Club, moved out in 2012.
One of Kelly’s neighbors said he is often seen coming and going with the couple’s four young kids.
Before embarking on her political career, Kelly graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University in 1994 with a degree in political science.
“Mom, Dad & Boys-thank u 4 the sacrifices luv & patience-I will make u all proud,” she wrote in her college yearbook.
Like Wildstein, former Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni also resigned after getting swept up in the scandal.
Long considered a rising GOP star, Baroni, 42, stepped down from his $ 289,000-a-year job after first claiming that the lane closures were for a traffic study.
He was Christie’s top appointed staff member at the agency.
“For him to be involved in something like this is ludicrous,” said a woman who identified herself as Baroni’s aunt.
“He is the most honest young man you will ever know.”
With Celeste Katz