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Christie Cancels Ellis Island Inauguration Bash

ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua(TRENTON, N.J.) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's inauguration party, already overshadowed by Bridgegate and accusations of withholding Sandy funds, was canceled Tuesday because of snow.

The snow started in New Jersey earlier than predicted and came down much faster and harder than expected so Christie’s inaugural committee was forced to cancel their bash at Ellis Island.

“Unfortunately due to the anticipated severe weather conditions posed by today’s winter storm, we have made the decision to cancel this evening’s Inaugural Celebration at Ellis Island,” a statement the committee released reads.

They add that they “regret” to cancel the event, but “safety” of their guests is their “first priority.”

The cancellation may have a silver lining for the Christie administration. The New Jersey Star-Ledger reports on Tuesday that Christie’s inauguration committee was having trouble unloading the $500 tickets to the Ellis Island bash.

Former state Assemblyman Rick Merkt, a one-time Christie ally but long-time Christie critic, told ABC News he was approached by an inaugural committee volunteer.

“They did call me trying to peddle a ticket a couple of days ago. It was a volunteer trying to scare up interest, said to me that ‘as a Republican leader who has always supported Chris Christie, would I be interested?’ Me," he said. "It’s almost on the eve of the event and they’re calling me trying to unload tickets. Rather bizarre that anyone in their group would call me and at this late before the event they need to sell tickets. They must be struggling.”

Merkt said he declined to shell out the dough. “Given New Jersey’s economic condition, I think I can find better things to do with $500,” he added.

Christie will be sworn into office at noon at the War Memorial in Trenton Tuesday. He attended a morning prayer service at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark.

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