NJ Politics Digest: Pence Gets Surprise Backing From Local Superstar

It’s Monday, and while the holiday week will be a short one in Trenton, it’s sure to be long on drama as political watchers on both sides of the aisle watch to see whether Gov. Chris Christie’s meeting Sunday with President-elect Donald Trump included the offer of a job in Washington. The drama is heightened following conflicting reports in Politico and the Star-Ledger about Christie’s status inside the Trump camp.
Meanwhile, Trump’s VP Mike Pence got some unexpected support from New Jersey musician Steven Van Zandt after the cast of “Hamilton” made a statement to Pence from the stage when the politician attended a performance of the Broadway show.
There’s also word of a new and growing threat in the state’s opiod epidemic, worries over the future of the state’s “sanctuary cities” some bad news about flood risks in southern New Jersey and questions about the state’s takeover of Atlantic City’s finances.

Quote of the Day: “When artists perform the venue becomes your home. The audience are your guests. It’s taking unfair advantage of someone who thought they were a protected guest in your home” – Steven Van Zandt, on the “Hamilton” cast’s reaction to Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s appearance at a performance.

Steven Van Zandt: ‘Hamilton’ cast bullied Mike Pence
It’s not what you say, it’s when you say it.
Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Band, one who is not shy about making pointed political statements, feels the cast of “Hamilton: An American Musical” bullied Vice President-elect Mike Pence when a cast member addressed Pence from the stage at the Friday, Nov. 18 performance.
Chris Jordan, Asbury Park Press Read more

Donald Trump: We like Chris Christie a lot (but)
“description”: “President-elect Donald Trump had a short meeting with Gov. Chris Christie on Sunday, but neither man gave any clues afterward whether Christie made the trip to Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster to provide counsel on transition matters, or to make his pitch for a job in the new Trump administration.
Bob Jordan, Asbury Park Press Read more

Christie meets with Trump during revolving-door day at N.J. golf course
President-elect Donald Trump lavished praise on Gov. Chris Christie as the two met for a brief closed-door session at Trump’s Somerset County golf course Sunday — but Trump didn’t say whether he’s considering the New Jersey governor for a position in his administration.
Brent Johnson, NJ.com Read more

Trump, Pence attend church in N.J. before meeting with Christie, others
President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence spent Sunday morning attending services at a Somerset County church before re-starting transition meetings at Trump’s golf course down the road — a slate expected to include Gov. Chris Christie this afternoon.
Brent Johnson, NJ.com Read more

Inside Chris Christie’s fall from grace
Chris Christie, once one of the Republican Party’s brightest stars, was virtually assured a position in a Donald Trump administration. As one of the first big-name politicians to endorse the Manhattan billionaire, the New Jersey governor had earned Trump’s gratitude.
Alex Isenstadt, Politico Read more

Tales of Christie-Trump drama have been overblown, sources say
Numerous published reports over the last few weeks have painted Gov. Chris Christie’s relationship with Donald Trump as going from strong to strained — so much so that Trump removed the New Jersey governor as leader of his transition team amid several concerns after winning the presidential election.
Brent Johnson, NJ.com Read more

Trump’s election ripped this N.J. county in half
Just like the rest of the country, Bergen County is divided.
The northern part of the county, made up of more affluent, traditionally Republican communities like Saddle River, Franklin Lakes and Wyckoff, voted for Trump.
Carla Astudillo, NJ.com Read more

Unauthorized N.J. immigrants fear the ‘monster’ that Trump has awoken
Vaina has spent the last 16 years of her life living, working and going to school in the United States.
Matt Arco and Fausto Giovanny Pinto, NJ.com Read more

The Jersey music scene faces Donald Trump
Among the Latin music beats at the Cascada Bar and Restaurant on Main Street in Asbury Park, Donald Trump’s name comes up often.
Chris Jordan, Asbury Park Press Read more

Christie’s legacy drops as legal bills rise
Somewhere in the strange bubble of bullish blather and banality that now surrounds Chris Christie, you have to wonder if he harbors any regrets about how his political life has unfolded — or not unfolded.
Mike Kelly, The Record Read more

Christie’s ‘Art of the Deal’ may not pay off with Trump
Governor Christie is a disciple of transactional politics. And for good reason: It has served him well.
Charles Stile, The Record Read more

Despite Chris Christie, has N.J. gone one toke over the line to pot legalization?
During the Republican presidential primary campaign, Chris Christie made it clear that if elected to the White House he would oppose marijuana legalization anywhere in America.
Paul Mulshine, The Star Ledger Read more

Was Christie’s speech to hundreds aimed at Guadagno?
When Chris Christie appeared at the annual League of Municipalities conference on Thursday, his speech was delivered to a room packed with hundreds of people.
Star-Ledger Read more

Phil Murphy: A big smile and, big plans for New Jersey
Phil Murphy’s smile lights up a room. When he says he’s glad to see you, you know he means it. Being a “people person” made him successful at everything he tried.
Joan Quigley, The Jersey Journal Read more

Former Christie aide dropped from bridge case civil lawsuit
Gov. Chris Christie’s former press secretary has been dropped from a civil lawsuit stemming from the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal.
Associated Press Read more

Trump set to make big change to NJ economy
President-elect Donald J. Trump’s mix of tax cuts and transportation spending could give New Jersey’s economy a boost. And his move to crackdown on immigration and free trade agreements could slow it down.
Michael L. Diamond, Asbury Park Press Read more

Can N.J.’s immigrant ‘sanctuary’ cities survive under Trump?
New Jersey cities that refuse to implement federal immigration enforcement may not be breaking the law, but they could be setting themselves up to face some serious consequences under president-elect Donald Trump’s administration, immigration law experts say.
Jessica Mazzola, NJ.com Read more

Democrats examining priorities after election stunner
Rep. Bill Pascrell says he was “taken to the woodshed” for saying Democrats needed to reexamine their leadership and priorities after losing control of the House in 2010.
Herb Jackson, The Record Read more

Judge dismisses suit against Port Authority over spending
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey over its alleged use of toll money for the World Trade Center reconstruction and Pulaski Skyway repairs.
Craig McCarthy, NJ.com Read more

Heroin being replaced by this even deadlier drug
Fentanyl is replacing heroin as the biggest killer on the block.
Ken Serrano, Asbury Park Press Read more

Next Superstorm Could Drive Floods Higher In South Jersey
Hurricane Sandy did almost incalculable damage to north and south, but it took an essentially northern route on its track of destruction
Tom Johnson, NJSpotlight Read more

‘Polite’ overseer arrives in A.C. But what is it the state really wants?
On Thursday, just like old times, Gov. Christie swooped into town, ignored Mayor Don Guardian, commandeered a stage at a state convention, and proceeded . . . to say absolutely nothing about Atlantic City, the town over which he had just executed a hostile takeover.
Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Read more

Orthodox group presses Howell over religious school denial
A discrimination lawsuit filed against Howell Township by an Orthodox Jewish group seeking to build a religious school with dormitories is on hold while a federal judge determines whether to allow the case to proceed.
Kala Kachmar, Asbury Park Press Read more

The long, short fall of Alex Blanco
Alex Blanco always struck me as a decent fellow, a family man and physician who cared about people, who in fact worked at a VA hospital, ministering to those this nation sometimes leaves behind.
Bruce Lowry, The Record Read more

Clifton teen says Councilman undermined her campaign
A rising star in city politics called a city councilman to account for insults she said he made in an attempt to torpedo her campaign for a seat on the Board of Education.
Tony Gicas, The Record Read more

Ringwood councilwoman steps down, citing relocation
Ringwood Councilwoman Donna Anderson stepped down on Thursday, citing retirement and relocation.
David M Zimmer, The Record Read more

Maywood Council makes ‘sustainability pledge’
The Borough Council made a “sustainability pledge” at a meeting on Saturday to meet a deadline for sustainability certification.
Rodrigo Torrejon, The Record Read more

NJ Politics Digest: Pence Gets Surprise Backing From Local Superstar