NJ Politics Digest: Weighing the fallout from Bridgegate Verdicts

It’s Monday, and the speculation continues about what the impact of the Bridgegate verdicts will be for Gov. Chris Christie, the defendants and the residents of New Jersey.
Meanwhile, Friday’s guilty verdicts all but overshadowed testimony about the state of affairs at NJ Transit, where political appointees – some with fat salaries – padded the payroll while the agency suffered with financial, manpower and serious safety problems.
Tomorrow is election day, and while the presidential race is getting all the attention, the Asbury Park Press has a story about some important local elections.
Throw in Senate President Steve Sweeney’s plan to curb prescription costs associated with state employee health plans, a right-to-die case and the hard-fought congressional battle in 5th district and you’ve got a full weekend of news to catch up on.

Quote of the Day: “If I was Hillary Clinton, I’d have an ad with Chris Christie’s face, a guilty stamp over it, saying that ‘Chris Christie’s employees are in jail. Now Donald Trump has Chris Christie figuring out who’s going to be in the administration. Don’t let Chris Christie bring his corruption to Washington DC. It’s an easy ad.'” – Seton Hall political science professor Matt Hale, on how fallout from the Bridgegate scandal will dog Gov. Chris Christie.

What they’re saying around the country about Christie and Bridgegate fallout
Chris Christie survived nasty battles to win office in Morris County. He clawed his way — to the surprise of many — into the top spot at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Newark. And he ended the political career of Jon Corzine.
The Auditor, NJ.com Read more

Convictions ensure Christie’s Bridgegate nightmare will continue
Gov. Chris Christie has vowed to “set the record straight” on Bridgegate now that the trial is done.
Matt Friedman, Politico Read more

Christie set to talk Bridgegate verdict in TV interview
Gov. Chris Christie is scheduled to discuss the Bridgegate trial verdict Monday with Charlie Rose in the New Jersey governor’s first interview since two of his former allies were convicted.
Brent Johnson, NJ.com Read more

Bridgegate brought dark inner workings of Christie team to light
For almost seven years, Governor Christie’s brain trust and support staff toiled in anonymity, staying busy and keeping quiet while their celebrity leader did all the talking.
Charles Stile, The Record Read more

Appeals could drag Bridgegate case on for another year
A jury has handed down guilty verdicts, but the George Washington Bridge lane-closure case could drag on for another year as defense attorneys file appeals most likely focusing on what they framed as a last-minute curveball from prosecutors.
Nichloas Pugliese and Abbott Koloff, The Record Read more

Where does Bridgegate leave us?
In Newark, a jury of 12 ordinary people made an emotionally complex choice on Friday. Across America, millions of voters face another kind of choice that is also dripping with emotion.
Mike Kelly, The Record Read more

Once a political star, Christie’s reputation is tarnished

Just after the guilty verdicts came down in the so-called Bridgegate trial, I went on the northjersey.com, site to read once more the original story reported by The Record’s “Road Warrior,” John Cichowski, from Sept. 13, 2013, days after the lane closures began at the George Washington Bridge.

Bruce Lowry, The Record Read more

Comparing Bridgegate trial testimony to Christie’s public comments
Governor Christie was a central figure in the trial over the George Washington Bridge lane closures, as lawyers for the prosecution and the defense homed in on his aggressive style and cast doubt on his past statements about the traffic scandal.
Salvador Rizzo, The Record Read more

NJ Transit admits safety crisis
Contradicting years of statements by NJ Transit, the agency’s executive director acknowledged Friday that its safety record is significantly worse than other American commuter railroads and that it needs more money and 305 new employees to operate safely.
Christopher Maag, The Record Read more

NJ Transit says feds identified safety problems months before Hoboken crash
Federal investigators uncovered a host of safety failures at NJ Transit, including a lack of train brake testing and workers using personal cell phones, just months before the September fatal train crash in Hoboken.
Katherine Landergan, Politico Read more

Judge says he will soon decide on Democrats’ request to limit RNC poll watching
A federal judge says he’ll decide either Friday or Saturday whether to grant Democrats’ request to prevent the Republican National Committee from engaging in what Democrats claim are voter suppression activities.
Matt Friedman, Politico Read more

Democrats, Republicans make stretch-run pushes in New Jersey
Democrats rallied African American voters in Newark and Latinos in Hackensack on Saturday while Republicans staffed phone banks and went door-to-door in key neighborhoods as the final hours ticked down in the 2016 campaign.
Herb Jackson, The Record 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. In their first and only debate last Monday, Republican Rep. Scott Garrett and Democratic challenger Josh Gottheimer not only called each other liars, they argued about who was a better liar. By the end of the week, each had lawyers sending letters demanding that ads they considered false and defamatory be taken off the air.
Herb Jackson, The Record Read more

Beyond Trump-Clinton: Why NJ local elections also matter
Voters still trying to decide on stomaching Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton shouldn’t stop there: A slew of local elections to be decided Tuesday will likely have even greater impact on the day-to-day lives and wallets of taxed-out New Jerseyans.
Bob Jordan, Asbury Park Press Read more

North Jersey casino question may be dealt record-setting defeat
It has already obliterated the record for spending on a New Jersey ballot question, but polls show the proposal to allow two casinos in North Jersey might make history in another way Tuesday: The most overwhelming defeat of a statewide ballot question in the Garden State.
Michael Symons, NJ101.5 Read more

How a small N.J. town ended up near the top of a federal ‘crime gun’ list
The annual report from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is a by-the-numbers account of New Jersey’s struggle to stem the flow of illegal guns from out of state.
S.P. Sullivan, NJ.com Read more

Sweeny Plan Could Save 200M in Prescription Costs for Public Workers
As part of his ongoing quest to curb New Jersey’s escalating healthcare costs, Senate President Steve Sweeney has called on the state to hire a technology firm that can aggressively identify cost savings in the prescription benefit plans that cover scores of government workers.
Lilo Stainton, NJSpotlight Read more

Morris judge considers woman’s wish to starve herself
A 29-year-old Morris County woman who suffers from extreme anorexia nervosa and wants to die is at the center of a legal battle on whether she should be force-fed at a hospital or has the necessary mental capacity to choose starvation.
Peggy Wright, Daily Record Read more

To drink or not to drink. That’s the ballot question in Ventnor
It’s not exactly a “dry” town, like nearby Ocean City.
And while this Atlantic County beach town bordering Atlantic City has nine liquor stores and restaurant patrons are welcome to bring their own beer and wine, there are no restaurants here that sell and serve alcoholic beverages.
Jacqueline L. Urgo, Inquirer Read more

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