Christie’s New Hampshire focus begins to pay dividends – By DANIEL STRAUSS 11/30/15 01:06 PM EST Updated 11/30/15 11:40 PM EST

After 49 visits, 36 town halls and more than 112 events, the New Jersey governor is finally seeing a return on his early-state investment.

AP Photo

AP Photo


After 49 visits, 36 town halls and more than 112 events, the New Jersey governor is finally seeing a return on his early-state investment.

The all-in-on-New Hampshire strategy might be finally paying off for Chris Christie.

The New Jersey governor, whose inability to gain traction in the presidential campaign has left him mired in single digits in national polls, is beginning to see a return on his considerable investment of time and energy in the first-primary-in-the-nation state.

For months, Christie has poured whatever resources he could muster into New Hampshire, visiting on an almost weekly basis. As of Monday, the governor had visited the state 49 times, hosted 36 official town halls and held more than 112 events there. He’s also made a habit of repeatedly texting and calling potential supporters — and following up — in an attempt to win them over. Even supporters of rival candidates concede those dogged efforts have left a good impression.

In recent days, he’s won a front-page endorsement from the state’s largest newspaper, the New Hampshire Union Leader, and support from several coveted New Hampshire activists as well — most notably the influential Renee and Dan Plummer. While Christie is still buried in the middle of the pack in state polls, the latest surveys have shown a slight uptick over his mid-October numbers.


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photo by JEFF BROWN

2 feet of snow on Newark, New Jersey, just after Christmas in 2010, Cory Booker, who was then mayor, carefully monitored the storm from his  Twitter account. He responded to tweets from residents, and he mobilized city workers. And when resident Linda H. (@msxmasbaby) tweeted, “Is there NE city volunteers 2 dig some1 out? I’m going 2 have medical procedure done,” he showed up with a shovel. That’s the way Booker rolls. He was early to social media and has made prolific use of it (47,500 tweets and counting) to connect with voters. So when he arrived in the US Senate in 2013, he was dismayed to discover just how out of place he was when it came to his tech-forward approach to government. The legislative body seemed stodgy and alarmingly behind the times, even by government standards, he says. “When they told me I couldn’t sit on the Senate floor with an iPad—that the technology wasn’t even permitted—I breathed deep and knew that I was going to have to start pushing.” To that end, he has recently teamed up with Missouri senator Claire McCaskill to ask for seven reforms. These include streamlining the requirements for email newsletters, letting Senate offices use analytics services to track social media, and adapting the Congressional Record to a more accessible XML format. There’s no telling how likely they are to succeed. But this heavy lifting won’t require a snow shovel.

One Man’s Path to the Senate

1992 A football player and class president, Cory Booker completes bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Stanford

1997 Finishes law school at Yale, having already studied at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar.

1998 Starts political career as a city council member in Newark, New Jersey.

2006 Becomes mayor of Newark, promising to reduce crime and encourage economic development.

2008 @corybooker sends first tweet, plugging an appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show.

2013 Wins US Senate seat in a special election to replace the late Frank Lautenberg.

Why now?

I am very respectful of the Senate’s important traditions, but it also has to keep up with the times.

What can’t you do that you would like to do?

A lot of things!

What’s the deal with the Senate ban on social media analytics tools, which could help senators surface issues from constituents?

Right now, if I ask my constituents questions on social media, it’s treated as if it’s a poll. And that’s just ridiculous.

The Senate just wants to prevent members from using online polling as a campaign tool. But the analytics ban inadvertently prevents lawmakers from identifying voters’ priorities.

Every sector of society looks at digital analytics in a productive way. Limiting my ability to use them is just unacceptable. And by the way, Congress conducts polls using traditional methods. No one is using social media analytics as a substitute for that.

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Christie channels Tom Brady in New Hampshire – By BEN SCHRECKINGER 5/8/15 2:32 PM EDT

Struggling New Jersey governor invokes besieged quarterback on his home turf.

Chris Christie is pictured. | AP Photo

Chris Christie just threw a Hail Mary in New Hampshire.

Behind in the polls, with his former staffers facing indictments in one court and his signature pension reform facing implosion in another, the New Jersey governor rushed to defend a scandal-plagued leader Granite State voters can definitely get behind: Tom Brady.

“I think there’s a little bit too much attention on this,” said Christie of reports that the New England Patriots quarterback was probably complicit in a plot to tamper with the footballs he used in games, calling the scandal “way, way overblown” in a Thursday interview with IJReview.

“I don’t think anybody is really trying to say that Tom Brady won four super bowls or became a future Hall of Famer because the balls were a little under inflated,” Christie added. “I think the media and others love for somebody who is married to a beautiful model, who is richer than you can imagine and who is a future Hall of Famer, to take a couple of shots at him? People like that every once in a while.”

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Emergency Manager’s Upcoming Report Caps Long Decline of Atlantic City – By Andrew Soergel March 22, 2015 | 12:01 a.m. EDT

A third of Atlantic City, New Jersey’s casinos closed during a 12-month window as the East Coast gambling market saturates.

The outline of letters that once spelled "Trump Plaza" is still visible on the facade of the former casino on Jan. 14 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Trump Plaza is one of four Atlantic City casinos that shut down in 2014.The outline of letters that once spelled “Trump Plaza” is still visible on the facade of the former casino on Jan. 14 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Trump Plaza is one of four Atlantic City casinos that shut down in 2014.

An emergency manager’s report on the deteriorating finances of Atlantic City, New Jersey, is expected to be made public as soon as this week – offering the latest indication of the effects that years of falling revenues and rising interstate casino competition have had on the one-time gambling mecca of the East Coast.

Kevin Lavin, appointed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to assess the economic viability of the city, has reportedly prepared recommendations that he has begun sharing with local officials. Details of the rescue plan have been slow to emerge, but the conditions are bleak and some fear a Detroit-style bankruptcy in the city’s future.

With a dwindling property tax base that has seen collections drop by 45 percent since 2008 and municipal taxes that have doubled over the same period, local officials are looking to state aid packages to bolster their finances against an unmistakable decline in the city’s traditional revenue stream. They’re also looking at bringing in less gambling-focused attractions to revitalize the embattled tourist destination that is home to roughly 40,000 residents.

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Oil Baron of the Pine Barrens – By Alan Neuhauser March 12, 2015 | 12:01 a.m. EDT

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie against smokestacks.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has become closer to traditional energy interests as his national profile has grown.

There’s an old joke in New Jersey: When the Texas oil fields go dry, the next great source of crude will come not from the Gulf or the Arctic but from Arthur Kill, the historically polluted shipping channel separating the Garden State and Staten Island, New York.

But a still better source might lie 50 miles down the New Jersey Turnpike, where political analysts say oil and gas has seeped into the statehouse, fueling the national ambitions of a governor who has carefully built an unusually close and personal relationship with the energy sector – an apparent evolution that’s allegedly come at the expense of local voters and public safety.

Chris Christie has focused his thinking on a national level, so New Jersey for so many years has become less important,” says Brigid Callahan Harrison, president of the New Jersey Political Science Association.

That dynamic came into stark relief last month, Harrison and others say, when the GOP governor quietly agreed to settle a decadelong $8.9 billion legal battle with Exxon Mobil for just $225 million.

Legal experts say victory for the state was virtually assured – Exxon Mobil was already liable for contaminating at least 1,500 acres of sensitive wetlands along Arthur Kill and Newark Bay. All that remained was assessing how much the company owed for the restoration and loss of use of the land. Yet just weeks before an expected decision, reports say, Christie’s chief counsel intervened, overstepping career attorneys who had worked the case for years to institute the settlement with Exxon.

An oil tanker docks in the Arthur Kill waterway April 22, 2008, in Linden, N.J.

An oil tanker docks in the Arthur Kill waterway in 2008 in Linden, N.J.

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Jersey Boys – By Alec MacGillis MARCH 9 2015 5:58 PM

It’s fun to joke about Soprano State corruption, but Sen. Bob Menendez’s case offers lessons that are bigger than New Jersey.

Sen. Bob Menendez speaks at a press conference on March 6, 2015, in Newark, New Jersey. Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Sen. Bob Menendez speaks at a press conference on March 6, 2015, in Newark, New Jersey.
Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images

No sooner had news surfaced on Friday that federal prosecutors were on the verge of bringing criminal charges against New Jersey’s Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez than the jokes about the Soprano State’s culture of corruption began. Heck, even I couldn’t resist. On further reflection, though, we’re being unfair to ascribe the Menendez mess entirely to the state from whence he came—and in so doing are missing lessons about how to safeguard our political system from further such occurrences.

The precise nature of the charges against Menendez aren’t yet known, but for two years the feds have been scrutinizing his dealings with a wealthy South Florida ophthalmologist named Salomon Melgen. Menendez, the child of poor Cuban immigrants, got to know the Dominican-born Melgen two decades ago, back when Menendez was a new arrival in the House of Representatives, and has, by his own account, become close friends with him. In recent years, Menendez repeatedly interceded on Melgen’s behalf in a dispute with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services over allegations that Melgen had overbilled Medicare for millions of dollars for injections he was performing on patients with macular degeneration. Menendez has also been pressing on Melgen’s behalf to help him see through a deal he has to sell port-screening equipment to the Dominican government.

Meanwhile, Melgen has been a highly generous supporter of Menendez’s. He and his family gave $33,700 to Menendez’s 2012 re-election campaign, as well as $60,400 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee while Menendez served as its chairman during the 2010 election cycle. But the biggest contribution by far was a series of three payments totaling $700,000 that Melgen’s business gave in 2012 to Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC that in turn shoveled nearly $600,000 toward Menendez’s re-election that year. Melgen also paid for two free trips that Menendez took in 2010 to Melgen’s seaside mansion in the Dominican Republic, a gift that Menendez did not initially disclose and for which he later paid $58,500 in reimbursement.

New Jersey Governor Christie to begin UK visit – BBC News 31 January 2015 Last updated at 23:01 ET

Mr Christie will hold a series of meetings with top British politicians, including Prime Minister David Cameron.

 New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Photo: 25 January 2015

Governor Christie is yet to officially announce a White House bid

Officially, his trip is a trade mission to promote ties with New Jersey’s third largest foreign partner, with $7bn (£4.6bn) in goods exchanged in 2014.

But it is also seen as a chance to boost his foreign policy credentials ahead of the 2016 White House race.

Although the elections are still more than 18 months away, rival Republican contenders are currently trying to ensure they have enough donors to fund their campaigns, the BBC’s Naomi Grimley in Washington reports.

‘Strong connection’

Governor Christie is yet to officially announce a White House bid.

In Britain, he is due to hold talks with Mr Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne.

“One of the main objectives of this trip is to focus on the opportunities that exist between the United Kingdom and New Jersey and our country as a whole,” Governor Christie told reporters ahead of the visit.

“There is no other country that has such a strong connection to ours in terms of history, economy and culture. And so we want to continue to make the most of that relationship.”

Mr Christie emerged as a Republican frontrunner after he gained praise for his emergency response to Hurricane Sandy in 2012, our correspondent says.

But she adds that his reputation took a hit last year when it was alleged his aides had intentionally caused traffic chaos on a New Jersey bridge, just to spite another politician.

On Friday, Mitt Romney, the Republican beaten by President Barack Obama in the US 2012 election, announced that he would not run for president again.

The move frees up donors to support other Republican candidates.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Senator Rand Paul are among those who are considering a White House bid.

On the Democratic side, the presumed front-runner is former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, although she has not made any announcement about campaigning.

Mrs Clinton previously sought the Democratic nomination in 2008, but lost out to Barack Obama.

Chris Christie Sounds Pretty Ready to Run for President – By Caroline Bankoff January 13, 2015 5:54 p.m.

With all the, uh … excitement surrounding the possibility of Mitt Romney challenging Jeb Bush for the 2016 Republican nomination, we almost forgot that Chris Christie is still threatening to launch his own presidential campaign. Christie’s Tuesday State of the State address certainly appeared to be intended for an audience beyond New Jersey — and that’s not just because he barred the local media from his pre-speech meeting with national reporters.

Photo: Ethan Miller/2014 Getty Images

“America’s leadership in the world is called into question because of a pattern of indecision and inconsistency. During this time of uncertainty it seems our leaders in Washington would rather stoke division for their own political gain,” said Christie during the 43-minute talk, which included several references to the 150 days he spent traveling outside of New Jersey this year. “We need to renew the spirit and the hopes of our state, our country and our people. We need a New Jersey renewal and an American renewal.”

Christie also had plenty to say about what’s been going on in New Jersey, highlighting his vetoing of several proposed tax increases, his effort to reform the state pension system, and a decrease in unemployment. Unsurprisingly, there were no references to the issue that haunted his last State of the State — Bridgegate — but the GOP’s anti-Christie folks will have plenty to say about it if and when he officially announces his interest in higher office.

Mercedes-Benz headquarters’ move to Atlanta is a sign of economic growth in red states. -By Peter Roff Jan. 2015

Mercedes-Benz headquarters’ move to Atlanta is a sign of economic growth in red states.

This Dec. 17, 2014 photo shows a new Mercedes Benz car with technical graphics on the sides parked in front of one of the buildings at the sprawling U.S. headquarters for Mercedes-Benz on Mercedes Drive, in Montvale, N.J. The German luxury automobile maker said Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, that it's moving its U.S. headquarters from New Jersey to Atlanta, in part to be closer to its manufacturing facility in Alabama. The decision comes after weeks of lobbying - some of it public - by New Jersey officials who sought to keep the company in Montvale, at a campus that's about a five-minute drive from BMW's North American headquarters. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

The smart choice is changing.

Daimler AG’s decision to move the U.S. headquarters of its Mercedes-Benz division from Montvale, New Jersey – where it has been since 1972 – to a site in the suburbs outside Atlanta is yet another sign that the rules of the old economic order are being rewritten thanks to the demands of the new economy.

While once quite different from the states on either side of it New Jersey has become a haven for the same kind of tax, spend and regulate approach to government that hampers the business climate in places like New York, long considered the East Coast archetype of the liberal welfare state.

[SEE: 2014: The Year in Cartoons]

In the old order, elites in business, government and labor cooperated on schemes heavy on central planning to keep the economy humming, preserve peace between labor and management and keep jobs from moving. Increasingly, however, that approach no longer works. Mercedes is moving despite what the Wall Street Journal described as “a significant incentive package” offered by New Jersey to keep the company from relocating.

Simply put, the climate for business is better in Georgia – at least that’s what company officials concluded despite the Garden State’s offer of a special deal.

Mercedes-Benz is not the only auto company making the move south. Japanese powerhouse Toyota is relocating its U.S. corporate headquarters from high tax California to Plano, Texas. They’ve figured out – as other companies are – that the “red states” have more to offer industry in the 21stCentury. Lower taxes (including a few states without any income tax whatsoever), less expensive home prices, lower property taxes, a less intrusive regulatory burden and cheaper energy are just a few of the benefits businesses can realize by making the big move.

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Nurse quarantined over Ebola fears plans to file lawsuit – October 26, 2014 10:37AM ET Updated 11:25PM ET

A nurse held in quarantine for Ebola monitoring in New Jersey plans to file a federal lawsuit challenging her confinement as a violation of her civil rights, her lawyer told Reuters news agency on Sunday.

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at Oct 27, 2014 1.28

Kaci Hickox, a nurse returning from Sierra Leone, arrived at New Jersey’s Newark airport on Friday and was questioned by officials in protective gear amid what she said was a mis-diagnosis of fever, followed by a transfer to a hospital isolation tent.

Norman Siegel, a well-known civil rights lawyer, said that Hickox’s confinement has raised “serious constitutional and civil liberties issues,” given that she is not showing symptoms and has not tested positive for Ebola.

“We’re not going to dispute that the government has, under certain circumstances, the right to issue a quarantine,” he said. But he added, “The policy is overly broad when applied to her.”

Hickox said she fears what lies ahead for other U.S. health workers trying to help battle the epidemic that has killed thousands of people in West Africa.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday echoed some of Hickox’s concerns, telling news media that he has “heard reports in the last few days of nurses being mistreated in the city,” and that he has also heard of “people being unwilling to serve them food.”

“We have to respect our first responders,” de Blasio said. “This is a very difficult disease to contract,” as it is spread “only through direct contact with bodily fluids” from an infected person.

Along with New York and New Jersey, Illinois has now imposed quarantines for anyone arriving with a risk of having contracted Ebola in West Africa.

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