NJ Politics Digest: Taking a Look At Christie’s Tough Day

It’s Wednesday morning, and the news in state politics revolves around Gov. Chris Christie – his comments on Donald Trump’s hot mic controversy and a Bridgegate attorney’s insinuation that he discussed the George Washington Bridge lane closures with his former Deputy Chief of Staff and current Bridgegate defendant, Bridget Kelly.
Meanwhile, critics are still throwing stones at the state gas tax plan, a study looks at the state’s “super polluters” and Trump is planning a weekend visit to the Garden State. For all this and the rest of the state’s political news, read on.

Quote of the Day: “I’m still supporting Donald. Obviously I was disappointed by what happened and disappointed in some respects by the response initially but I’m still supporting him,” – Gov Chris Christie, speaking for the first time about Donald Trump’s hot mic comments about women.

Christie still backs Trump, calls remarks ‘indefensible’
Governor Christie is still supporting Donald Trump for president even though he was “disturbed,” “disappointed” and “embarrassed” by a video released last week revealing the Republican nominee, then a reality television star, bragging about groping women.
Dustin Racioppi, The Record Read more

Former aide says Christie grew angry as word of GWB scandal emerged
The top cop at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has taken the stand at the start of the fourth week of trial of two former allies of governor Christie accused of the politically motivated closure of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge.
The Record Read more

Here’s the new top 10 Port Authority salary list, shaped by Bridgegate scandal
The list of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s top 10 highest paid executives has changed dramatically since last year, with several substitutions, raises among most holdovers, and the agency’s head lawyer knocking the executive director off the top spot.
Steve Strunsky, NJ.com Read more

Did Bridgegate defense attorney suggest Kelly told Christie about lane closures?
The defense attorney for a former Gov. Chris Christie aide charged in the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal suggested on Tuesday his client told the governor about the lane shutdowns before they occurred and while they were happening.
Ted Sherman and Matt Arco, NJ.com Read more

P.A. cops: Baroni gave phony Bridgegate testimony to lawmakers
The Port Authority’s police union’s top cop testified Tuesday he was “quite upset” when former Port Authority executive Bill Baroni told a legislative committee in November 2013 that his department had requested a traffic study be done at the George Washington Bridge.
Ted Sherman and Matt Arco, NJ.com Read more

N.J. gas tax hike is not a long-term solution, critics warn
On the surface, Monday was a good day for New Jersey drivers and train commuters. NJ Transit trains returned to Hoboken Terminal for the first time since a fatal crash on Sept. 29, and many political and union leaders celebrated a deal to finance transportation improvements by raising the gasoline tax to 37.5 cents per gallon.
Christopher Maag, The Record Read more

Study finds about 100 super polluters are fouling the air we breathe
The Bergen Generating Station looms along the bank of Overpeck Creek in Ridgefield, its squat concrete stacks visible to drivers passing by on the turnpike. The facility, owned by PSEG Power, is a key producer of electricity for the regional grid that keeps New Jersey and New York City humming.
James O’Neill, The Record Read more

Tenafly man who lost end of finger in Hoboken train crash plans lawsuit
A man who lost part of a finger and suffered other injuries in a deadly train crash has filed notice of his intent to sue.
Associated Press Read more

Trump making rare N.J. appearance Saturday to talk about terrorism
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is scheduled to make a rare campaign appearance in New Jersey on Saturday when he is keynote speaker at a charity event hosted by the Republican Hindu Coalition, according to the organization’s website.
Susan K. Livio, NJ.com Read more

Should Christie get to revise N.J.’s school rating system?
With a new federal education law set to take effect next school year, Gov. Chris Christie’s administration has the chance to revise New Jersey’s school rating system just before he leaves office.
Adam Clark, NJ.com Read more

4 N.J. troopers were fired or resigned over misconduct in 2015, internal report reveals
Four New Jersey state troopers were either fired or forced to step down over bad behavior last year, according to a report from the State Police’s internal affairs office.
S.P. Sullivan, NJ.com Read more

Bill would bar Icahn from keeping Taj Mahal casino license
Billionaire Carl Icahn would not be able to retain the casino license for his now-shuttered Trump Taj Mahal under a measure making its way through the state Legislature.
Associated Press Read more

New Jersey wasn’t always a blue state
There was a time when New Jersey was a battleground state in presidential elections, in an era long before America was divided into blue and red teams.
Erik Larsen, Asbury Park Press Read more

Hewlett-Packard chief Meg Whitman endorses Josh Gottheimer
The Democratic hopeful running against Rep. Scott Garrett has picked up a key endorsement from Meg Whitman, the chief executive of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and a prominent Republican.
Kim Lueddeke, The Record Read more

3rd District hopefuls weigh in on heroin, immigration
The three candidates for the 3rd Congressional District all seem to concur on one thing: None of them is a particular fan of Donald J. Trump or Hillary Clinton.
Austin Bogues, Asbury Park Press Read more

N.J. school district considers change to Red Raiders mascot
The Keyport Board of Education is scheduled to vote Wednesday night on whether or not to change the high school’s Red Raiders mascot designs after an alum reportedly expressed concerns that it is offensive to Native Americans.
Rob Spahr, NJ.com Read more

More than 200 bears killed on first day of N.J. hunt
Hunters killed 206 black bears on Monday, the first day of the six-day bow hunt season, according to data released today by the state Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Richard Cowen, The Record Read more

Dem candidate: 2007 prostitute reference was a joke
The Democratic candidate for Monmouth County surrogate told his friends in a 2007 Facebook comment that his friends could find him via a Swedish “whore” while he was studying in the Netherlands.
Susanne Cervenka, Asbury Park Press Read more

DiMaso got county health benefits despite prohibition
Monmouth County Freeholder Serena DiMaso received family health coverage for more than four years from the government she oversees despite a county policy that, up until January, prohibited her from receiving such benefits.
Susanne Cervenka, Asbury Park Press Read more

Barnegat admin hunted for new job while on disability
While former township Business Administrator David Breeden took time away from his job to recover from surgery, he was hunting for another job in Florida.
Amanda Oglesby, Asbury Park Press Read more

Ex-school board prez loses appeal in free lunch scandal
A state appeals court Monday rejected a bid by former city school board president Marie Munn to overturn her conviction on charges she illegally obtained free lunches for her children through a federally subsidized program.
Andrew Mills, NJ.com Read more

PRINCETON: Mayor says no police profiling in town
Mayor Liz Lempert on Monday said there is “no” issue in town with police engaging in profiling, in giving a more concrete answer to a question that she had faced at a mayoral debate last week.
Philip Sean Curran, centraljersey.com Read more

NJ college students will get a crash course on local government
Do you know who the mayor of your community is or how local government operates? Apparently a number of college students of voting age don’t, and that has prompted a political science professor at Ocean County College in Toms River to organize the First Annual Mayor’s Panel this month.
Dianne DeOliveira, NJ101.5 Read more

Bill would expand lead-testing reimbursements to more schools
When the state Department of Education decided to require schools to test their drinking water for lead in July, officials said that districts that tested prior to the rules adoption could not seek state reimbursement for the cost of the evaluations.
Linh Tat, Politico Read more

I Watched a Casino Kill Itself: The Awful Last Nights of Atlantic City’s Taj Mahal
I am watching the sunrise from the 39th floor of the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It is about to be a frigid, rainy December day—a fact that at any other point in the venue’s 24-year history may have negatively affected customer turnout, but today will likely make no difference at all. Outside my window, seagulls caw loudly and recently shuttered casinos, their neon signs now dark—Trump Plaza, Revel, Showboat, Atlantic Club—rise from the empty streets like headstones.
Olivia Nuzzi, Daily Beast Read more

Martin Boyd, former Hawthorne police chief and academy leader, dies at 60
Martin Boyd, the assistant director of the Passaic County Police Academy and a former Hawthorne police chief, has died. He was 60.
Jay Levin, The Record Read more

NJ Politics Digest: Taking a Look At Christie’s Tough Day