PolitickerNJ News Digest: Dec. 31st

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It’s Thursday, the last day of 2015 in New Jersey, a good time to look at the start of jockeying for the 2017 GOP gubernatorial nomination and review last year’s political scene in pictures.

The GOP’s Best Candidates for 2017
With the NJ GOP in dire fiscal shape and the field for 2017’s gubernatorial race dominated by Democrats, the coming governor’s race will be Republicans’ chance to show they can still cohere without outgoing governor Chris Christie and hold their own against Democrats’ deep pockets, as well as their support from well-heeled super PACs.
JT Aregood, PolitickerNJ Read more

The Essex, Bergen, Hudson Power Divide
Three of New Jersey’s northern counties share the heft of the political power in the state: Bergen, Hudson and Essex. While, by raw numbers alone, Essex County appears to come out on top, each of these areas contains cross-currents that break up the power among the three.
Alyana Alfaro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Pursuing BCRO Chairmanship, Rooney Says Yudin Stellato’s ‘Best Asset’
Wyckoff Mayor Kevin Rooney announced that he was hoping to snag the role of Bergen County Republican Organization (BCRO) chairman from Bob Yudin on the day after his reelection. According to Rooney, the county’s Republican Party is in dire need to revitalization after heavy losses this year—and in previous years—have left the Bergen GOP disjointed and disorganized. He thinks he is the right man to fix the party’s troubles.
Alyana Alfaro, PolitickerNJ Read more

New Jersey and Star Wars: ‘I’ve Got a Bad Feeling About This’
We went to see Star Wars: the Force Awakens, we’ll confess, looking for political parallels to New Jersey more than a revival of The Force.
PolitickerNJ Editor, PolitickerNJ Read more

A Christie Presidential Nomination would Constitute an Historic First
In 2015, I predicted wrongly about a number of significant developments in the 2016 presidential race.
Specifically, I failed to foresee the rise of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, the collapse of the Jeb Bush and Scott Walker candidacies, and the survival of Hillary Clinton, who I thought would be sidelined by the burgeoning scandals of emails, Benghazi, and the Clinton Foundation.
Alan Steinberg, PolitickerNJ Read more

Lawsuit over GWB lane closures assailed in court filings
You can’t sue for getting stuck in a traffic jam. That’s one of the assertions made in court documents filed Tuesday on behalf of a slew of defendants, including the state of New Jersey and the Port Authority, who are the targets of a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of Bergen County commuters and taxi drivers.
Paul Berger, The Record Read more

It is up to court to hold legislators accountable for N.J. pension crisis
New Jersey is unable to pay for the obligations it incurs each year. Despite the balanced budget requirement of its constitution, it promises pensions to its workforce and collects their employee contributions but does not pay its share of those pensions as calculated by its actuaries each year.
Clifford Goldman, Star-Ledger Read more

N.J. Senate, Assembly leaders negotiating on road funding
With an important deadline for New Jersey transportation funding looming, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney said he and the Democratic state Assembly speaker are “getting closer” on a plan to raise money for roads and bridges.
Samantha Marcus, NJ.com Read more

Christie’s presidential hopes vs. N.J. government paralysis
Ah, schooldays. Things were different for Chris Christie back at the ol’ University of Delaware. The carefree scamp would spend his days building coalitions while running for president of the student body. He’d relax by fighting to secure an endorsement from the school newspaper.
WNYC Read more

In Iowa, Christie goes after Obama, GOP rivals
Gov. Christie used blunt terms as he brought his focus on terrorism to an Iowa diner Wednesday morning, attributing voter anxiety to “dead bodies” in recent attacks.
Maddie Hanna, The Inquirer Read more

PolitickerNJ News Digest: Dec. 31st