The Fix: New Jersey

How New Jersey’s largest paper ‘blew this one’ by endorsing Chris Christie

How New Jersey’s largest paper ‘blew this one’ by endorsing Chris Christie

New Jersey's largest newspaper regrets its decision to endorse New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) for reelection last year, the paper's editorial page editor wrote in a piece published Sunday.

Newark Star-Ledger editorial page editor Tom Moran writes that picking Christie over Democrat Barbara Buono earned him a great deal of criticism from liberals last year. He pushed back in 2013, he explained. But now, in light of a bridge scandal involving former aides to the governor, the paper is second-guessing it's choice. Here's Moran:

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The 14 states where gay marriage is legal, in one map

Same-sex couples wedded in New Jersey for the first time Monday following a state Supreme Court ruling handed down Friday that cleared the way for them.

That means the number of states where gay marriage is legal now stands at 14 plus the District of Columbia. As shown on the map below, courtesy of The Washington Post graphics team, the vast majority of the states are in the Northeast or on the West Coast.

In six other states, civil unions are allowed. New Mexico, notably, is the only state that has no provision on same-sex marriage. The state Supreme Court there could decide whether it is legal in all counties.

About 10 years ago, the map would have looked very different. Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage, in November 2003.

Chris Christie's medical marijuana dilemma under the spotlight

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has promised to decide by Friday whether to sign a medical marijuana bill. And his forthcoming decision has generated a great deal of attention in the state.

Christie was confronted Thursday by a man who pleaded with him to sign the bill, which would ease restrictions to allow severely ill children to take an edible strain of cannabis.

"Please don't let my daughter die, governor," said New Jersey resident Brian Wilson, in an exchange that was widely covered in the local media. Wilson's daughter suffers from a severe form of epilepsy that he says can be treated with certain strains of medical marijuana.

Below is video of the encounter:

Christie told Wilson there are "complicated issues" at play and that he would announce his decision by Friday.

The exchange also landed on the front page of the Newark Star-Ledger, the state's largest newspaper:



It's safe to say Friday won't be a slow news day in New Jersey.

Five reasons Cory Booker is set to cruise to victory Tuesday

Five reasons Cory Booker is set to cruise to victory Tuesday

New Jersey voters will head to the polls Tuesday to choose nominees for the race to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D). And on the Democratic side, the only real question mark is Newark Mayor Cory Booker's margin of victory. Yes, it's been that one-sided.

The obvious question is why — as in why is Booker such a prohibitive front-runner? Here are the five biggest reasons:

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Rush Holt is no Cory Booker. And he's just fine with that.

Rush Holt is no Cory Booker. And he's just fine with that.

Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), in his own words, is no Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D).

"I'll be the first to admit, I'm no Cory Booker," Holt says in an introductory campaign video released Wednesday. "I don't have a million Twitter followers, I've never run into a burning building, and I'm not friends with Mark Zuckerberg, though I did like him on Facebook."

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It's Cory Booker's race to lose

It's Cory Booker's race to lose

There are slightly more than two months until the Democratic primary in the New Jersey special election for Senate, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker starts as the prohibitive favorite.

With Republicans unable to land a top-tier candidate, the real action is in the Democratic primary, and two new polls show Booker with a huge early lead.

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The critique of Chris Christie -- in 1 cartoon

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's decision to hold a special election to fill the seat of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) just three weeks before the regularly scheduled November election has led many -- in the state and nationally -- to criticize him for the cost of running a second election this fall.

Christie insisted his decision to schedule the October Senate special had everything to do with the law -- it was the earliest he could schedule it -- and nothing to do with politics. His detractors insisted that Christie chose an October election to keep popular Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Senate candidate, from sharing the ballot with him. Without Booker helping to drive Democratic turnout, the expectation is that Christie will easily defeat little known state Sen. Barbara Buono (D) in November to claim a second term.

Star Ledger cartoonist Drew Sheneman captured the back and forth over Christie's motives in a cartoon over the weekend. It's below.



What we know about the New Jersey Senate race (and what we don't)

What we know about the New Jersey Senate race (and what we don't)

It's been a busy week in New Jersey politics. Sen. Frank Lautenberg's death set into motion a series of events culminating in an August primary and October special election to fill his seat.

So, who has the upper hand? And what are the most important variables to keep an eye on as the race moves forward? Below we run down the biggest knowns and unknowns. Agree/disagree? The comments section awaits your input!

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Why New Jersey is holding a Wednesday election

Why New Jersey is holding a Wednesday election

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Tuesday set an Oct. 16 special election to fill the vacancy created by the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg.

Oct. 16 is a Wednesday. Elections are usually held on a Tuesday. What gives?

The election is happening on a Wednesday because it's the soonest possible date it could be held under the writ Christie issued. State law holds that the primary be held 70-76 days after the writ Christie issued Tuesday, with a general election to follow 64-70 days after that.

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Barbara Buono's sneaky new ad

Barbara Buono's sneaky new ad

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's opponent is out with a new ad, and it might be a candidate for sneakiest ad of the year.

At first glance, Democrat Barbara Buono's ad appears to be just a fun, cutesy new ad making light of her hard-to-pronounce last name -- comparing it to U2 s Bono and Sonny Bono.

By the end though, the message is clear: I'm an Andrew Cuomo Democrat.

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Despite Lautenberg's exit, no free ride for Cory Booker

Despite Lautenberg's exit, no free ride for Cory Booker

Sen. Frank Lautenberg‘s (D-N.J.) decision not to seek reelection in 2014 leaves Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) as the favorite to succeed him as senator.

But Booker is unlikely to get a free ride.

A New Jersey Democrat with knowledge of Rep. Frank Pallone's (D-N.J.) plans tells The Fix that Pallone will run for the seat now that Lautenberg is out, setting up a test for Booker in the Democratic primary.

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How old is Frank Lautenberg? Don't ask his constituents.

Update 4:03 p.m.: Lautenberg announced shortly after this post went up that he will not seek reelection.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg's (D-N.J.) age is sure to be an issue if he faces a primary against Newark Mayor Cory Booker in 2014.

As of now, though, his age remains a complete mystery to most New Jerseyans.

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Lautenberg calls Menendez controversy 'a terrible tragedy'

Lautenberg calls Menendez controversy 'a terrible tragedy'

Sen. Bob Menendez's (D-N.J.) New Jersey colleague has responded to the growing controversy surrounding the senator's ties to a doctor who was recently raided, and he's not exactly doing Menendez any favors.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), in comments reported by the Star-Ledger, left open the possibility that the allegations against Menendez could have merit:

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Frank Lautenberg is almost 90. Does it matter?

Frank Lautenberg is almost 90. Does it matter?

New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) turned 89 this week. And, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who is preparing to challenge Lautenberg in a Democratic primary next year, has already made clear that the the incumbent's time may have passed.

With that as a backdrop, this tweet on Wednesday caught our attention:

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Chris Christie is playing with fire

Chris Christie is playing with fire

Chris Christie is immensely popular and is a huge favorite for reelection in New Jersey this year, with voters from across the political spectrum giving him the thumbs up.

When it comes to the national conservative base, though, the governor is at risk of earning a different one-finger salute.

Christie is already on probation with some conservatives for his praise of President Obama's work on Hurricane Sandy in the closing days of the 2012 election -- something a few critics have even suggested put the president over the top.

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The 10 most interesting states in politics

The 10 most interesting states in politics

On Tuesday, we asked Fixistas to undertake a very important mission: To tell us why your state is the most interesting state in politics.

Once again, you came through in spades.

We had some great entries for our contest. Below, we're highlighting the 10 best entries and (accordingly) the 10 most interesting political states — a designation that will surely go down in the history books for all 10.

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For Cory Booker, the Senate is the ticket

We're still waiting to hear whether Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) will challenge New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) next year. But don't hold your breath.

If polling is any indication, Booker would be much, much wiser to focus his sights on the state's 2014 Senate race.

Polling early this week showed Christie with approval ratings peaking over 70 percent after Hurricane Sandy, and one showed him leading Booker by 18 points in a potential 2013 matchup.

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Waiting for Cory Booker

Waiting for Cory Booker

The off-year governor's races in New Jersey and Virginia are always seen as a measure of the political environment a year after a presidential election.

But at least one and possibly both of the 2013 governor's races could be less-than-marquee contests. And whether they will or won't be very much depends on two men: Cory Booker and (to a lesser extent) Mark Warner.

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Where Obama did better in 2012 than in 2008 (in one map)

Where Obama did better in 2012 than in 2008 (in one map)

President Obama was reelected on Tuesday, but he won by significantly smaller margins across the entire country -- except for a handful of places.

One of those places just happens to be the Eastern part of New Jersey, which was rocked by Hurricane Sandy a week before the election.

Voters up and down the counties along the Jersey Shore and in the New York City area voted for Obama by more than they voted for him in 2008. Obama did better in 2012 in Ocean County, Middlesex County, Union County and Passaic County, along with nearby Richmond County, N.Y. -- a.k.a. Staten Island.

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Fix Hangout: N.J. Senate candidate Joe Kyrillos and gearing up for Paul Ryan


Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will accept the GOP nomination for vice president Tuesday at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

But before his much-anticipated speech, The Fix’s Chris Cillizza hosted a Google+ Hangout with, Washington Post reporters Karen Tumulty and Sean Sullivan, and Fix reader Paul Shanks of Richmond, Va.

They were later joined by New Jersey Senate candidate Joe Kyrillos.

Do you want to join The Fix for a future Hangout? Fill out this form and we may contact you about participating in one of them.

Rep. Bill Pascrell defeats Rep. Steve Rothman

Updated at 12:14 a.m.

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) defeated Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.) in their primary Tuesday, scoring a big victory in a new district after the two incumbents’ districts were combined under the state’s new redistricting map.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Pascrell led Rothman 60 percent to 40 percent.

Pascrell had the endorsement of former president Bill Clinton, while Rothman got the late backing of President Obama. It is one of several races this cycle pitting a supporter of Hillary Clinton against an Obama supporter, but the first in which Obama himself has gotten involved.

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Top Obama adviser backs Rep. Steve Rothman over Rep. Bill Pascrell

A top Obama campaign adviser is taking sides in a member-versus-member primary in New Jersey, with senior adviser David Axelrod set to campaign for Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.), according to a national Democratic aide.

Rothman faces Rep. Bill Pascrell in a North Jersey district that was merged by redistricting. Details of Axelrod’s visit weren’t immediately known.

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Cory Booker’s next move, and why it might take a while

We here at The Fix are — admittedly — a fan of the political parlor game. We’re always looking for the next big thing in politics, the next potential president, senator or governor.

So when Newark Mayor Cory Booker saves his neighbor from a burning house, needless to say, we take notice.


Newark Mayor Cory Booker talks during a news conference outside of the Prudential Center, Wednesday, April 4, 2012, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The episode was simply the latest in a long line in a storybook-like political rise, and Booker has long been the subject of speculation about his future. As a young, telegenic, social media-savvy (more than one million Twitter followers) and popular mayor just across the river from New York City, he’s hard to ignore.

The question for a long time, then, has been is what is next for Booker.

The problem, though, is that his state isn’t great for a rising star.

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New Jersey tilts redistricting battle toward GOP

New Jersey tilts redistricting battle toward GOP

The back-and-forth battle that is redistricting swung in Republicans’ favor when a redistricting commission in New Jersey picked a map favored by the GOP over the holiday weekend.

The bipartisan commission’s tie-breaking chairman on Friday picked a map that is pitting Democratic Reps. Steve Rothman and Bill Pascrell against each other and should help Republicans keep their most vulnerable incumbents in Congress.

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Afternoon Fix: Christie not running, his brother says

Chris Christie’s brother says he’s not running, Bev Perdue wants to suspend Congress, Russ Feingold has endorsed Elizabeth Warren, and Ed Koch has endorsed Obama.

Make sure to sign up to get “Afternoon Fix” in your e-mail inbox every day by 5 (ish) p.m.!

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