NJ Politics Digest: NJ Republicans Pick Leader for Post-Christie Era

Chris Christie.

After being pummeled in the governor’s race and losing more seats in the Legislature, New Jersey Republicans turned to someone new to lead them in the post-Chris Christie era.

Doug Steinhardt was elected the state Republican Committee chairman on Tuesday, putting him in charge of getting the GOP out of the political abyss. He told Observer he is looking into “rebuilding and rebranding and re-energizing” the Republican Party.

Don’t tell that to Christie, who thinks he’s leaving the party better than he found it. The future of the NJ GOP is to be “an opposition party,” he said Tuesday. Without the governor’s office and with a slimmer minority in the Legislature, Republicans don’t really have any other choice.

Quote of the Day: “These are challenging times for Republicans in New Jersey.” – Doug Steinhardt.

NJ Democrats Make Voter Registration Gains in Key Congressional Districts
In the 5th congressional district, where freshman Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-5) will be running for a second term next year, Democrats now narrowly outnumber Republicans in what is considered one of the most conservative parts of the state, according to data from the Division of Elections.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

Steinhardt to Lead GOP; Currie Likely to Stay Democratic Chairman
Doug Steinhardt was elected the new chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee on Tuesday — and he’s got his work cut out for him, leading a party that just lost the governorship and several seats in the Legislature.
Alyana Alfaro Read more

Murphy Accepting Applications for His Administration
The biggest employer in the state is hiring. Governor-elect Phil Murphy, a Democrat who takes office on Jan. 16, started collecting applications online on Tuesday for jobs in his administration.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

Christie: I left the N.J. GOP better off than I found it ‘in many ways’
Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday he’s leaving the New Jersey Republican Party in better shape than he found it, even though the party lost the governorship in this month’s election and has seen its legislative minority dwindle during his tenure.
Politico Read more

Christie vows to help convicted drug offenders before leaving office
Gov. Chris Christie says he expects to sign into law a package of bills that would provide more opportunities for low-level drug offenders and other former criminals to expunge their records.
NJ 101.5 Read more

Orsen leaving EDA; expected to land with South Jersey Industries
Melissa Orsen has resigned as the CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, ROI-NJ has learned. Two sources told ROI-NJ that she is expected to be named general counsel for South Jersey Industries. The sources requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak for Orsen or the utility.
ROI-NJ Read more

EDA head reportedly leaving for company that got $12M tax break
Politico Pro Read more (Paywall)

Port Authority Pushes on With Plans to Extend PATH From NYC to Newark Liberty
Whether or not the feds will ever pony up the money needed to boost commuter-rail capacity between New Jersey and New York, the Port Authority is moving ahead with its own plans to expand connections between the states. The agency is planning to extend PATH service from downtown New York to Newark Liberty Airport.
NJ Spotlight Read more

Sports betting case could pay off for internet gambling
Internet gambling in the United States has been limited to just three states since it began in 2013, but it could soon get a big boost from an unlikely source: the U.S. Supreme Court. Some gambling industry officials, regulators and analysts think that a favorable ruling by the high court in New Jersey’s challenge to legalize sports betting could also lead to an expansion of internet gambling.
Associated Press Read more

Christie’s name is mud, but preserved in asphalt? Past governors should be so lucky
A cursory look at how New Jersey remembers its most recent governors shows that there’s often little love lost between governors and the Garden State’s public by the time they finally part company. Here’s how we’re paying homage — or, just as often, ignoring — our former state chief executives.
Star-Ledger Read more

Minimum wage for Bergen County workers is now $15 an hour
Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco gave thanks for county workers on Tuesday when he signed an executive order that raises the minimum wage for full-time employees to $15 an hour.
The Record Read more

Obamacare enrollment stays strong in Pa., N.J. and around U.S.
Health insurance enrollment under the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, remained higher than many expected for the third straight week, Trump administration data released Wednesday showed. The pace of enrollment remained about 50 percent higher compared with a similar period last year.
The Inquirer Read more

Ousted prosecutor lands job at Attorney General’s office
Two weeks after Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton was surprised with the news that he was being replaced, he has been appointed to a job with the state Attorney General’s office.
South Jersey Times Read more

Congressional Tax Reform Is a Win for New Jersey
Last week, the House of Representatives passed a tax reform plan that will move the process forward. While not perfect, it was the crucial first step to allow continued deliberation before the bill is finalized. I was disappointed that Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-5) instead voted to shut off negotiations and keep the status quo intact.
Steve Lonegan Read more NJ Politics Digest: NJ Republicans Pick Leader for Post-Christie Era