Winners and Losers: The Week of Christie’s Final NJ Budget Address

O’Toole was nominated to serve as a commissioner Commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. JT Aregood for Observer

The big story this week was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivering his final budget address while in office. The address got a mixed response from Republicans and Democrats in the legislature so the coming weeks will likely determine who comes out a winner and who comes out a loser on issues Christie discussed like pensions and school funding reform.

Here’s where others in the world of New Jersey politics landed this week:


The Monmouth Assemblyman appears to have a clear path to a State Senate with Amy Handlin dropping out of the race. He’s a strong bet to win Joe Kyrillos’ seat against Democrat Sean Byrnes.

The esteemed State Senator was nominated to serve as a Commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and is forming a new law firm with Gov. Christie’s highly-respected Chief Counsel, Tom Scrivo (who is the new NJEDA Chairman). Watch for O’Toole Scrivo to catapult to the top of the NJ law firm power list.

The Democratic Senate Majority Leader, Gov. Christie’s #1 critic and the post powerful public voice for reforming the Port Authority in the wake of toll increases and the Bridgegate scandal, effectively got to appoint a new Port Authority Commissioner. Her ally, Democratic power lobbyist/fundraiser Caren Turner, was one of Christie’s picks for the Port post.

Great news that the Somerset County Assemblyman and Republican gubernatorial candidate is now cancer free!

The Lt. Governor becomes the first Republican to qualify for public financing in her bid to become the GOP candidate for Governor. She also became the first Republican to officially receive a county line when she was chosen by the Hudson County Republican Party as their candidate.

The two-time Democratic candidate for State Assembly is Republican Gov. Christie’s choice to be the new Atlantic County Prosecutor — perhaps a hint that when it comes to South Jersey politics, George Norcross is more powerful than Chris Christie?

Earlier this year the billionaire investor avoided Democratic efforts to punish him for closing down the Trump Taj Mahal after a long labor dispute. Now he’s selling the once-grand casino to a group led by Hard Rock International even as the gaming market in Atlantic City continues to struggle.


The veteran Trenton insider politician trying to run as an outsider gubernatorial candidate takes heat for representing a multi-billion dollar polluter in a fight with the people who live in Carteret, one of the towns he has represented in the Assembly for the last 22 years.

The Middletown Mayor was a casualty of Amy Handlin’s decision to stay in the Assembly. With no vacancy to run for, the 13th district butterfly effect pushed Scharfenberger out of his bid for the legislature.

The Mount Ephraim Board of Education member and retired Camden County Sheriff’s Officer, was forced to resign his seat after making what some viewed as offensive social media posts regarding Muslims and Mexicans.

At the pinnacle of his political power as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, the Morris County Republican could face a 2018 challenge from Essex County Assemblyman John McKeon.

The Bergen County Republican Chairman suddenly has a problem in his bid for the 40th district Senate seat: the surprise early departure of Kevin O’Toole likely means that rival Kristin Corrado will be an incumbent Senator before the June primary.

The Brick Mayor, whose seat is up this fall, faces questions regarding the prosecutor’s probe of the police chief.

Winners and Losers: The Week of Christie’s Final NJ Budget Address