NJ Politics Digest: It’s Election Day, and Christie is Lucky He’s Not on the Ballot

It’s Tuesday, election day in New Jersey. As voters go to the polls, state officials are promising efforts to ensure things run smoothly.
Meanwhile, Gov. Chris Christie is not up for re-election, which is good news for the beleaguered Republican, who is facing near-record low approval ratings in the wake of four of his senior staff standing guilty of federal corruption charges and comments from jury members about his apparent involvement in the case.
Christie went on TV Monday to claim he had nothing to do with the Bridgegate plot, blaming it all on former aid Bridget Kelly. The former federal prosecutor said he has “absolutely no recollection” of being informed of the plot.
Meanwhile, state Democrats are calling for the state attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to examine a citizen’s misconduct charge against the governor in relation to Bridgegate.
With all this going on, it’s sometimes easy to forget that there are congressional races, a question on the gas tax and casino gaming expansion and other important issues before voters today. So, for the rest of the state’s political news, read on.

Quote of the Day: “I’ve had 25 people serve on my senior staff over seven years. And I had one person who didn’t get it. One out of 25. So I don’t think it says anything about me. I think it says everything about that person,” – Gov. Chris Christie, on former Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly.

See just how low Christie’s approval ratings have sunk due to Bridgegate trial
Gov. Chris Christie approval ratings have plunged into a netherworld few New Jersey governors have ever reached.
Claude Brodesser-Akner, NJ.com Read more

Christie’s approval rating hits record low in NJ, poll finds
Governor Christie’s approval rating has hit a record low among New Jersey voters, falling to 20 percent in a Rutgers-Eagleton survey released Monday.
Salvador Rizzo, The Record Read more

How Chris Christie Hoodwinked Charlie Rose
Back when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was a surging politician on the national stage, he often pivoted from controversies back in New Jersey by going on national television, where he’d take advantage of the medium’s short sound bites and interviewers’ lack of familiarity with local issues. Christie played that same game this weekend, sitting down with Charlie Rose for a post-Bridgegate verdict “exclusive interview” that aired today on “CBS This Morning” (longer segments will run tonight on PBS and Bloomberg).
Matt Katz, NJSpotlight Read more

2nd Bridgegate juror said she believes Christie was involved, report says
Another juror in the Bridgegate trial of two aides to Gov. Chris Christie has said she was convinced the governor was involved in the plot to switch traffic patterns at the George Washington Bridge for political reasons, according to a report by Bloomberg Politics.
Kathleen O’Brien, NJ.com Read more

Pence stands by Christie after aides’ convictions
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said Sunday there are no plans — as of now — to remove New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as the campaign transition chief after two of Christie’s former aides were convicted in the Bridgegate trial this past week.
Jeremy Herb, Politico Read more

N.J. lawmaker pushes for special prosecutor to handle Christie Bridgegate complaint
A key Democrat on Monday pressed the state attorney general’s office to appoint a special prosecutor to handle an official misconduct criminal complaint lodged against Gov. Chris Christie last month for the governor’s alleged involvement in Bridgegate.
Claude Brodesser-Akner, NJ.com Read more

Christie: No recollection of aides telling him of GWB lane closures
With two of his former aides found guilty of political payback at the George Washington Bridge, Governor Christie turned to a national audience Monday to again profess his lack of knowledge about it and insist that the 2013 lane-closure scheme does not reflect his leadership.
Dustin Racioppi, The Record Read more

Christie says Bridgegate verdict confirms his story
Gov. Christie says a federal jury’s conviction Friday of two former aides in a political payback scheme involving the George Washington Bridge does not reflect poorly on him and confirms what he thought when the scandal erupted in January 2014.
Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Read more

Feds don’t buy Christie’s explanation for freezing out Jersey City mayor
After jurors found two former aides to Gov. Christie guilty Friday in the George Washington Bridge lane-closure case, the governor pledged to “set the record straight” regarding “lies” that he said were propagated by the news media and others during the trial.
Here’s one problem for Christie: It is clear that federal prosecutors don’t believe the explanation he provided to federal investigators for treatment of a high-profile Democrat in summer 2013.
Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Read more

Captain Licorish, Agent Pickles, Swamp Justice: Highlights from the Bridgegate Trial
Start with a premise that should have seemed absurd: political operatives shut down access lanes to the world’s busiest bridge to punish a Democratic mayor who did not endorse a Republican governor who wanted to be leader of the free world. It was bound to be a colorful story — and trial — even without the New Jersey swamp setting and larger-than-life central figure, Gov. Chris Christie.
Kate Zernikenov, New York Times Read more

Breaking the Bridgegate story: Two Record reporters uncovered the scandal
Much of the testimony in the recently concluded Bridgegate trial had a familiar ring to it.
That’s because testimony during the federal trial in which two former allies of Governor Christie were convicted, dealt with abuses that had previously been reported by the Record.
John Ensslin, The Record Read more

Gas tax anger blurring ballot question
New Jersey voters on Tuesday will be asked to weigh in on Public Question 2, a ballot initiative to dedicate all the revenue from the state gas tax to transportation projects.
Salvador Rizzo, The Record Read more

N.J. attorney general dispatching deputies for Election Day
New Jersey’s attorney general says 350 of his deputies will be assigned on Election Day across the state to ensure a fair election.
Michael Catalini, Associated Press Read more

Judge rules against NJ State Democratic Committee suit alleging voter intimidation
State Democrats offered no evidence that a group listed by Homeland Security as among militia extremists planned to intimidate minority voters on Election Day, a federal court judge ruled Monday.
Kim Lueddeke, The Record Read more

350 lawyers from AG’s office will be at polling places on Election Day in N.J.
Representatives from the state Attorney General’s Office will be stationed at polling places in every county in the state to address legal issues as New Jersey voters head to the polls, authorities said.
S.P. Sullivan, NJ.com Read more

Springsteen and Bon Jovi rally for Clinton
New Jersey voters on Tuesday will be asked to weigh in on Public Question 2, a ballot initiative to dedicate all the revenue from the state gas tax to transportation projects.
NorthJersey.com Read more

Garrett vs. Gottheimer: Fact-checking North Jersey’s rough ‘n’ tumble 5th Congressional race
The campaign to represent North Jersey’s 5th Congressional District not only broke spending records, it has rivaled the presidential race for personal attacks.
Herb Jackson, The Record Read more

Anti-Semitism sits just below the surface this Election Day
Walter Weglien sent me an email two weeks ago. The Pompton Plains resident began, “I was an orthodox Jewish boy living in Nuremberg, Germany. On the morning of Nov. 9, my father took me by the hand (something he hadn’t done for a long time), and we walked to where our synagogue had stood. It had been burned to the ground. The Holy Ark, which contained the Torahs, had been chopped to bits, the Torah scrolls ripped apart.”
Alfred P. Doblin, The Record Read more

President, House seats, casinos, gas tax money on NJ ballot
New Jersey voters will cast ballots for president and U.S. House members and decide whether to expand casino gambling and how to dedicate gas tax revenue.
Michael Catalini, Associated Press Read more

North Jersey casinos vote looms on Tuesday
As the days dwindle before Tuesday’s statewide referendum on whether to add two casinos in North Jersey, voters are being sent very different messages from supporters and opponents.
John Brennan, The Record Read more

NJ’s horse racing industries reveal major deal ahead of North Jersey casino vote
The leaders of the state’s thoroughbred and standardbred horse racing industries announced an agreement on Monday — on the eve of today’s North Jersey casinos vote — that could raise the quality of racing in the state as well as help balance the industry’s books.
John Brennan, The Record Read more

Monmouth poll: 6-point Clinton lead over Trump day before U.S. election
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton led Republican Donald Trump by 6 percentage points among likely U.S. voters in a Monmouth University poll released on Monday, a day before the U.S. presidential election.
Reuters Read more

Pope names Indiana archbishop to lead Newark Archdiocese
The newly appointed spiritual leader of The Archdiocese of Newark said Monday he will promote joy, transparency and freedom.
Monsy Alvarado and Mary Jo Layton, The Record Read more

Paterson mayor asked city workers to do personal tasks even after state probe had begun, NBC reports
An NBC News report Monday night said Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres directed city public works employees to do personal tasks for him months after he was already under the spotlight of a highly-publicized state Attorney General’s Office investigation involving similar allegations.
Joe Malinconico, The Record Read more

NJ court says Pinelands pipeline approval was unlawful
A panel of New Jersey Appellate Division judges ruled Monday that the Pinelands Commission’s 15-member board – not its staff – must decide if a proposed gas pipeline may proceed through protected Pinelands forest.
David O’Reilly, Inquirer Read more

State won’t change mind on Atlantic City’s plan, commissioner says
The city’s last-ditch attempt to get approval of its fiscal recovery plan has failed.
Christian Hetrick, Press of Atlantic City Read more

Rutgers writer: I was fired after using ‘illegal immigrants’ in column
A student columnist for Rutgers’ student newspaper claims he was fired for questioning the choice to edit out the term “illegal immigrants” from one of his pieces.
Dan Alexander, NJ101.5 Read more

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