NJ Politics Digest: Christie Puts the Sun King to Shame

Chris Christie in 2013. Tim Larsen/Governor's Office

These pictures of Gov. Chris Christie and his family luxuriating on one of the nicest beaches in the state — all by themselves, because of the government shutdown Christie ordered — caused an international stir in a matter of hours and are sure to follow the governor around no matter where he goes next in public life.

For those who don’t already know, Christie closed down state government on Saturday after failing to get the budget deal he wanted through the Legislature. The shutdown affects all state parks. But Christie, his family, and a few guests have had Island Beach State Park all to themselves because the governor still gets to use his official retreat there.

With a 15 percent approval rating, he doesn’t seem to give much of a hoot about optics anymore. “Run for governor,” he said when asked whether the arrangement was fair. He bluntly told reporters he would be shuttling back and forth from the beach to Trenton on a state helicopter.

Christie didn’t give a second thought to misleading the press and the public about his mini-vacation, either. When asked Sunday at a news conference whether he had gotten any sun, Christie said no and gruffly changed the subject by saying, “Next! Next!” Little did he know the Star-Ledger had put a photographer on a rental plane to snap pictures of him and his family on their secluded getaway financed by the same taxpayers who had to make U-turns upon reaching the park.

Christie may think he has nothing left to lose in public life. But the state Republican Party, still as loyal to him as ever for some head-scratching reason, will sink or swim along with his brand. That includes Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the GOP nominee for governor, and all 120 legislative candidates this year. A wise man once said, “Get the hell off the beach. … You’ve maximized your tan.”

Quote of the Day: “I didn’t get any sun today.” – Gov. Chris Christie.

Quote of the Day #2: “Get the hell off the beach!” – Gov. Chris Christie.

Christie, family soak up sun on N.J. beach he closed to public
Here are exclusive aerial photos by NJ Advance Media showing Christie surrounded by wife, Mary Pat Christie, and others.
Andrew Mills, NJ.com Read more

The plane truth: How we caught Christie sunbathing on a closed beach
It wasn’t difficult to find him. There Christie was, with family and friends, on a long and empty stretch of beach near the governor’s shore residence, nobody else within a country mile. They were enjoying the beautiful summer day on a beach closed to the public by Christie because of a budget standoff.
Andrew Mills, NJ.com Read more

NJ Shutdown: Nothing Really Happens on Day Two
The day is Sunday, the hour is 6 p.m., New Jersey state government remains in shutdown mode, and nothing has really changed in the last 42 hours.
Salvador Rizzo, Observer Read more

How health-insurer debate ground Christie’s Trenton to a halt
For months, Gov. Christie waged a one-man crusade against New Jersey’s largest health insurer, attacking its highly-paid executives and lobbyists as he sought to make the case that it should establish a fund to provide drug-addiction services to the poor and uninsured.
Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Read more

Shutdown crisis unleashes the ‘Trumpian’ sides of Christie, Prieto
The principal figures in the state budget shutdown have let loose their petty, inner Trumpian alter egos.
Charles Stile, The Record Read more

Christie OK’d posters at government offices blaming speaker for shutdown. Is that legal?
They look sort of like wanted posters — and they’re at shuttered government buildings throughout the state.
Adam Hochron, NJ101.5 Read more

NJ budget impasse: Holiday visitors, residents unhappy over govt. operations shutdown
Many New Jersey residents woke Saturday morning with errands on their minds and Fourth of July holiday plans ahead — and no clue that Gov. Christie had shut down state operations because of the legislative budget impasse.
Inquirer Read more

‘Gov. Christie, get the h— off the beach!’
“Gov. Christie, get the h—— off the beach!”
That was the tongue-in-cheek response from Larry Manno of Ridgefield, Connecticut, when he learned Saturday that Christie and his family were spending the weekend at the governor’s official retreat in Island Beach State Park even though the 10-mile long park was off limits to everyone else.
The Record Read more

Budget impasse ruins 4th of July plans for families
While Gov. Chris Christie, his family and friends enjoy a Fourth of July getaway at the state-owned residence at Island Beach State Park, other New Jerseyans are barred access to state parks because of the 2017-18 state budget impasse in Trenton.
Amy B. Newman, The Record Read more

NJ lawmakers OK 10.5% tax on fantasy sports winnings
The Legislature on Friday passed a bill to regulate and tax daily fantasy sports and sent it to Republican Gov. Chris Christie for his signature.
Associated Press Read more

N.J. health bills make their way to Gov. Christie’s desk for approval
While a bill to restructure the state’s largest health insurer and a government shutdown have taken center stage in New Jersey politics, a number of measures aimed at improving health care initiatives got victories in the legislature in recent weeks.
Press of Atlantic City Read more

Inside Cory Booker’s social media strategy
As Democrats rallied opposition to Senate Republicans’ health bill last week, Cory Booker turned to his phone to whip up a storm.
Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Read more

What 2 ex-N.J. govs say about GOP health care bill; funding pensions with the lottery
The following exchange between former New Jersey governors Brendan T. Byrne and Tom Kean took place via telephone last week.
Star-Ledger Read more

Paterson Council picks Cotton to fill crucial president’s post
After weeks of intense behind-the-scenes lobbying, Ruby Cotton won the City Council president’s position on Saturday afternoon, culminating a contentious, high-stakes contest for what normally is only a ceremonial position.
Joe Malinconico, Paterson Press Read more

Editorial: Frelinghuysen’s only ‘concern’ is his political survival
With his audience seeking comfort and reassurance, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.) told a telephone town hall Tuesday that the projected mangling of Medicaid in the Senate’s health care bill is “a legitimate concern.”
Star-Ledger Read more