NJ Politics Digest: Kean-Florio Fight Could Pose Problems for Trump and GOP

It’s the end of another long week in Trenton and New Jersey politics. But there’s a lot to keep political watchers talking over the weekend, starting with how will a consent agreement from a New Jersey-based case more than 30 years ago will play out in this year’s presidential election.
Then there’s the wait for a verdict in the Bridgegate trial – and the question of whether or not the case will proceed following Thursday’s delay. Throw in Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno’s apparent new-found independence from the Christie administration – and what, if anything – that really means, and there is definitely two days worth of pondering for die-hard political junkies.

Quote of the Day: “For seven years, she has been a very loyal member of the Christie administration. When it comes to her own political ambitions, his unpopularity is an albatross.” – Ben Dworkin, director of the Rebovich Institute of Politics at Rider University, on Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno’s apparent break with Gov. Chris Christie on raising the state gas tax.

Democrats sue Republicans over possible voting intimidation on Election Day
A federal judge in Newark has given the Republican National Committee until Monday to respond to a Democratic lawsuit that asks the courts to punish the GOP for efforts by Donald Trump’s campaign to challenge voters going to the polls.
Herb Jackson, The Record Read more

N.J. voter intimidation case at center of Democratic court fight against Trump
The Democratic National Committee has charged the Republican National Committee and presidential nominee Donald Trump with violating a 30-year-old restriction on voting activities stemming from the 1981 New Jersey gubernatorial contest.
Jonathan D. Salant, NJ.com Read more

Guadagno joins Republican revolt against gas tax increase
Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno joined the Republican revolt against Governor Christie and the gas tax he signed into law by urging voters to defeat a ballot question that seeks a constitutional safeguard for the money raised by that increase, the largest in state history.
Dustin Racioppi, The Record Read more

Guadagno: ‘A vote for Question 2 is a vote for the gas tax’
Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno surprised two of the biggest supporter of New Jersey’s gas tax increase — Gov. Chris Christie and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto — when she told New Jersey 101.5’s Bill Spadea Thursday she’s against a ballot question to guarantee it’s used for transportation.
Dan Alexander, NJ101.5 Read more

Christie has made sure Guadagno is neither seen nor heard
Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno vaulted to the top of New Jersey’s political food chain six years ago — and quickly discovered that there really wasn’t much for her to do.
Charles Stile, The Record Read more

Christie slams Guadagno over gas tax comments
Gov. Chris Christie publicly criticized his lieutenant governor Thursday morning over a disagreement on his unpopular decision to raise New Jersey’s gas tax, a marked change in a relationship where he has been the dominant public figure and she remained relatively out of sight.
Dustin Racioppi, The Record Read more

Think the new gas tax is bad? You should see what it does to diesel
Legislation signed into law by the governor to increase the gas tax by 23 cents a gallon, starting next week, contains some additional tax increases that haven’t gotten a lot of attention – until now.
David Matthau, NJ101.5 Read more

New Jersey ‘Bridgegate’ judge delays closing arguments
Closing arguments in New Jersey’s “Bridgegate” trial were unexpectedly postponed by a day on Thursday because of an unspecified “legal issue” that must be resolved, the trial judge said.
Joseph Ax, Reuters Read more

Gov. Christie’s Shadow Over Bridgegate
It has been a riveting few days in the tragicomic opera known as Bridgegate, now playing at the federal courthouse in Newark. Bridget Anne Kelly, whom we last saw disappearing under the wheels of a bus, shoved there by Gov. Chris Christie, re-emerged on the witness stand, testifying in her own defense. In an emotional climax to the six-week trial, she pointed the finger at her former boss as a bully and a liar.
New York Times Read more

The surprise in Bridgegate? Bridget Kelly is no monster
At the conclusion of testimony in the Bridgegate trial, what have we learned?
We have a truckload of fresh evidence that Gov. Chris Christie has been lying about his role in the scandal for three years, and that his bullying behind closed doors can be unhinged, even scary. But who is really surprised that?
Tom Moran, Star-Ledger Editorial Board Read more

Bad car-ma: Chris Christie’s lack of concern for commuters is coming back to haunt him
Many people have lofty career goals in life. I have had just one:
Never get a job that requires commuting to Manhattan.
Paul Mulshine,The Star Ledger Read more

Robocall complaints are skyrocketing in New Jersey
An early look at 2016 data on consumer complaints shows that New Jersey is being plagued by a sharp increase in the number robocalls.
Erin Petenko, NJ.com Read more

NJ Transit gets victory over reputed mobster’s family in land dispute
NJ Transit has been handed a victory by a state appellate court in its battle with the family of a reputed mobster over the value of 1.89 acres of land that NJ Transit officials condemned for the canceled ARC tunnel project.
Larry Higgs, NJ.com Read more

Amtrak to pay $265M for Philadelphia crash that killed 8
Amtrak will pay $265 million to settle claims related to a crash last year that killed eight people and injured more than 200 others when a speeding train derailed on a curve.
Associated Press Read more

Teacher who alleged he wasn’t hired because he’s white gets $145K settlement
A teacher who sued a South Jersey school district for racial discrimination alleging that officials told him he wasn’t hired because he is white has settled his lawsuit for $145,000.
Jeff Goldman, NJ.com Read more

Roommate Dharun Ravi pleads guilty to charge in Rutgers webcam case
A former Rutgers University student whose roommate killed himself after being captured on a webcam kissing another man has pleaded guilty to attempted invasion of privacy.
The Record Read more

Failure on casino expansion could be boon for Atlantic City
Casino expansion throughout the Northeast has been blamed for much of Atlantic City’s struggles, and New Jersey’s first attempt to cash in on those same expansion benefits seems destined to fail.
Associated Press Read more

South Jersey congressmen appear headed for reelection
If U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo wins his 12th consecutive term Nov. 8, he will set a longevity record for representing South Jersey’s Shore counties.
Inquirer Read more

N.J. congressional candidates square off on business, the economy
The candidates vying for a congressional seat in New Jersey’s 7th District on Thursday sparred over how to create economic growth for the region, emphasizing their bipartisanship and sometimes breaking from their parties’ presidential nominees.
Marisa Iati, NJ.com Read more

U.S. holding auction to lease seafloor off N.J. coast for wind farm
The federal government will hold an auction in December to lease nearly 80,000 acres of the Atlantic Ocean seafloor for a developer to build a large wind farm about 18 miles southeast of Sandy Hook.
James O’Neill, The Record Read more