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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was photographed relaxing on a state beach he had ordered closed to the public.

He gave the go-ahead for non-essential services to be shut down – including the Island State Beach Park – over the July 4 holiday weekend because of a budget impasse.

“I didn’t get any sun today,” Chris Christie said, before the aerial photos emerged.

The images show the governor and his family on an otherwise empty beach.

Other visitors were turned away by police.

Chris Christie said his family was spending the weekend at the governor’s residence there and he was commuting to work by state helicopter.

Image source Flickr

“That’s just the way it goes. Run for governor, and you have can have a residence there,” he said at a news conference on July 2.

“I didn’t get any sun today,” he added.

After being told of the photographs, Chris Christie’s spokesman Brian Murray admitted the governor had “briefly” been on the beach “talking to his wife and family before heading into the office”.

Bridgegate: Chris Christie Gets Criminal Summons

“He did not get any sun. He had a baseball hat on,” Brian Murray added, NJ.com reported.

The partial government shutdown in New Jersey arose because state legislators had not passed a health insurance bill that Chris Christie said had to be passed alongside the state’s budget.

The shutdown included the closure of Island State Beach Park, one of New Jersey’s few free public beaches, and all other state parks.

Chris Christie had been trying to get the state’s largest health insurer, Horizon Cross Blue Shield, to hand over $300 million, some of which Chris Christie wanted to use to battle drug addiction in the state, the New York Times reported.

New Jersey is one of at least nine states that were unable to meet their budget deadlines at the beginning of the month.

Donald Trump has defended his handling of the transition to the White House, amid reports of disarray in his team.

The president-elect tweeted that the process of selecting his new cabinet and other positions was “very organized”.

According to recent reports, two senior members of the transition team working on national security have been forced out.

Donald Trump has already replaced New Jersey Governor Chris Christie with Vice-President-elect Mike Pence as head of the transition team.Donald Trump hails Brexit referendum result

According to reports, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser Jared Kushner was behind the change.

Chris Christie was New Jersey attorney general when Jared Kushner’s father was tried and jailed in the state for tax evasion, illegal campaign contributions and witness tampering in 2004.

Former Congressman and House intelligence committee chairman Mike Rogers, who was handling national security for the transition, announced on November 15 that he was leaving.

Mike Rogers and another member of the national security team, Matthew Freedman, were sacked, the New York Times reported.

He is thought to have been close to Gov. Chris Christie, while Matthew Freedman is said to be a protégé of Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager who quit in August.

However, Donald Trump sought to calm fears of turmoil, tweeting: “Very organized process taking place as I decide on Cabinet and many other positions.

“I am the only one who knows who the finalists are!”

NYC ex-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani – who has been tipped for a senior post – said presidential transitions were always a complex process, and glitches were normal.

Donald Trump is due to be inaugurated as president on January 20, 2017.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been hit with a criminal summons for his alleged role in the 2013 closure of George Washington Bridge.

The case will move to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office to determine whether an indictment will follow.

The news comes as two former aides of the governor are on trial for allegedly closing part of the bridge after a mayor refused to endorse the governor.

The Republican governor has repeatedly denied knowing about the lane closures.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Bridget Kelly, Chris Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, and Bill Baroni, a former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive, are facing conspiracy and fraud charges for allegedly closing part of the George Washington Bridge, a major bridge connecting New Jersey to New York City.

Federal prosecutors say the move was political retribution to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing the governor in his re-election bid.

Revelations about “Bridgegate” have dogged Chris Christie, who endorsed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in a surprising move after dropping out of the primary race earlier this year.

Chris Christie has become a prominent supporter of his former rival, Donald Trump, and manages the New York businessman’s transition team should he win the White House.

David Wildstein, a former Port Authority official who pleaded guilty last year, testified late last month that Chris Christie was told about the bridge closure at a 9/11 memorial service two days after the lanes were blocked and laughed about the revenge plot.

Activist Bill Brennan filed the official misconduct complaint against Chris Christie in September after David Wildstein’s testimony.

The prosecutor’s office will decide whether there is enough evidence to indict Chris Christie for official misconduct, which could lead to a sentence of five to 10 years in prison.

Chris Christie appointed the prosecutor who will review the case.

The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office had “no comment at this time”, spokeswoman Maureen Parenta said in an email to Reuters.

Chris Christie’s spokesman Brian Murray said the ruling would be appealed and reiterated the governor had no knowledge of the plot.

“This is a dishonorable complaint filed by a known serial complainant and political activist with a history of abusing the judicial system,” he said.

“This matter has already been thoroughly investigated by three separate independent investigations.”

At least one person has been killed and other 108 injured, some of them critically, after a New Jersey Transit train crashed into Hoboken station.

The train reportedly went through ticket barriers and into the reception area of the train station.

Footages show extensive damage to the train carriages and station, with part of the building roof caved in.

Witnesses described a scene of horror at the station.

A huge emergency services operation swung into action following the crash, with firefighters and transport staff helping people from wrecked carriages.

Hoboken is across the Hudson River from New York City. Many people use the busy station to travel into Manhattan.

Image source NBC News

Image source NBC News

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie confirmed there had been one fatality. The woman has been identified as 34-year-old Hoboken resident Fabiola Bittar de Kroon.

Chris Christie said she was struck by debris while standing on a platform.

He said the train’s driver – later identified as 48-year-old Thomas Gallagher – was in serious condition and being treated at a local hospital but was co-operating with investigators.

“We have no indication that this is anything but a tragic accident,” Chris Christie added.

In 2008, the Congress passed a law requiring all trains to install Positive Train Control (PTC) systems by the end of 2015.

However, most rail companies were unable to meet the deadline as the system is expensive and complex to install. Some rail lines – including New Jersey Transit – threatened to shut down completely if it was enforced. In response, Congress extended the deadline to install PTC systems to 2018.

Rail lines can then apply for an additional two-year extension to finalize updates and test the system. Safety targets for New Jersey’s transit trains say PTC installation should be completed by 2018.

According NJTransit’s most recent PTC progress report, none of the 440 trains on the New Jersey Transit rail line are equipped with PTC, nor have any employees been trained on the equipment.

Chris Christie said officials had no estimate on when the NJ Transit section of the Hoboken Terminal would re-open.

The structural integrity of the part of the building used for PATH trains has been deemed safe and was expected to resume service later on Thursday.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) vice chairman, Bella Dinh-Zarr, said the agency would be looking into whether there were any similarities between September 29 crash and one at the same station in 2011 that injured 34 people.

An NTSB investigation found excessive speed to be the main cause of the 2011 accident.

Chris Christie has made a surprise announcement saying that he is endorsing Donald Trump for president.

The New Jersey governor and former Republican candidate dropped out of the 2016 presidential race after a lacklustre showing in polls and state races.

During a press conference, Chris Christie said: “I’m happy to be on the Trump team and I look forward to working with him.”

Donald Trump gives Republicans the best chance to win the White House, Chris Christie adds.Chris Christie endorses Donald Trump

The New Jersey governor said junior senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, both running for president, were “unprepared” for the job.

There is “no question” that Donald Trump will turn around Washington, Chris Christie continued, and keep Democratic candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from winning the White House.

Donald Trump is leading in many state polls and has already won three consecutive state contests in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, despite never having worked in politics.

He shouldered some criticism from Marc Rubio and Ted Cruz at a Republican debate on February 25 but it is not yet clear whether this has hurt his popularity.

“He is rewriting the playbook of American politics because he’s providing strong leadership that is not dependent upon the status quo,” Chris Christie said of Donald Trump.

“I will lend my support between now and November in every way that I can for Donald, to help to make this campaign an even better campaign than it’s already been.”

Florida Senator Marco Rubio continued to assail Donald Trump the morning after the debate.

He told CBS: “A con artist is about to take over the Republican Party and the conservative movement, and we have to put a stop to it.”

New Jersey Chris Christie has decided to drop out of the Republican presidential nomination race after a disappointing finish in New Hampshire.Chris Christie drops out

Chris Christie spent heavily and campaigned the longest in New Hampshire but still came in sixth place.

He was praised for his debate performances and was credited with blunting the momentum of Marco Rubio.

Chris Christie joins former tech executive Carly Fiorina who also left the race after struggling in Iowa and New Hampshire.

A lawyer for Chris Christie’s former ally David Wildstein said the New Jersey governor knew about the closures of local lanes leading to George Washington Bridge to New York City while they were happening.

David Wildstein said he had evidence to show Chris Christie knew about the lane closures, which caused a huge traffic jam at the George Washington Bridge.

Documents suggest the traffic jam was orchestrated by Chris Christie’s aides.

Chris Christie on Friday reiterated he had “no prior knowledge” of the closures.

The scandal has damaged Chris Christie’s standing as a potential candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

In a letter to the general counsel of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which manages the George Washington Bridge and other bridges and tunnels between the two states, David Wildstein’s lawyer wrote: “Evidence exists… tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed.”

Alan Zegas’ letter described the lane closure as occurring under “the Christie administration’s order”, and said David Wildstein suggested Chris Christie had not spoken truthfully in a January news conference.

David Wildstein said he had evidence to show Chris Christie knew about the lane closures, which caused a huge traffic jam at the George Washington Bridge

David Wildstein said he had evidence to show Chris Christie knew about the lane closures, which caused a huge traffic jam at the George Washington Bridge

Chris Christie said then that he had been “blindsided” by the revelations his aides were involved in the traffic jam.

“I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or execution,” the governor said.

The four-day September traffic jam in the streets of Fort Lee, New Jersey, which sits at the foot of the bridge, is believed to have been orchestrated by Chris Christie’s aides to punish its Democratic mayor for his refusal to endorse the governor in his 2013 re-election campaign.

The traffic jam was caused when workers closed off two local lanes from Fort Lee onto the bridge, ostensibly to conduct a traffic study.

State legislators and federal prosecutors have launched inquiries into the matter, and Chris Christie has pledged to co-operate.

David Wildstein, a high school friend of Chris Christie, was a senior political appointee on the Port Authority until he resigned in December as the probe into the traffic jam began gathering steam.

In January, Chris Christie sacked Bridget Anne Kelly, his deputy chief of staff.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Ann Kelly wrote on August 13 to David Wildstein, according to a copy of the email obtained by the news media in January.

“Got it,” David Wildstein replied.

David Wildstein has refused to testify in legislative inquiries into the matter, citing his constitutional protection against self-incrimination.

In a statement released by his office to the news media on Friday, Chris Christie said David Wildstein’s lawyer “confirms what the governor has said all along – he had absolutely no prior knowledge of the lane closures before they happened”.

According to the statement, Chris Christie believed only that a traffic study was under way until he read “otherwise” on the morning of January 8, when his aides’ involvement was revealed in the news media.

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be sworn in for a second term today amid George Washington Bridge scandal and Superstorm Sandy aid.

But the 55th governor of New Jersey has a full schedule of inaugural events.

Chris Christie’s day is scheduled to start with a service at Newark’s New Hope Baptist Church before a swearing in and address in Trenton and an evening party on Ellis Island, a symbolic spot synonymous with the promise of the US. The island where some 12 million immigrants first entered the US is divided between New Jersey and New York, but his party is to be in a hall on the New York side.

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who was drawn into the controversy surrounding Chris Christie this weekend, is also to be sworn in for her second term.

Chris Christie won re-election in November by a 22-point margin over state Sen. Barbara Buono, a Democrat.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be sworn in for a second term amid George Washington Bridge scandal and Superstorm Sandy aid

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be sworn in for a second term amid George Washington Bridge scandal and Superstorm Sandy aid

He became a fixture in speculation about who would seek the 2016 presidential nomination with his leadership after Superstorm Sandy slammed into his state in October 2012.

He worked with President Barack Obama and took on Republican members of Congress who were reluctant to approve aid for storm victims, receiving high marks from his constituents and plentiful national attention.

Chris Christie’s reputation has been battered somewhat since revelations this month that a staffer ordered two of three approach lanes to the George Washington Bridge from the town of Fort Lee shut down for four days in September apparently as political retribution against the mayor there, perhaps for not endorsing Christie for re-election.

The US Attorney’s Office and two state legislative committees are now investigating.

Chris Christie has apologized, denied any involvement with or knowledge of the plot and fired a deputy chief of staff at the center of the controversy. But questions have continued.

His administration also faces an allegation from the Democratic mayor of Hoboken that it tied the delivery of Superstorm Sandy aid to the low-lying city of 50,000 across from Manhattan to support for a prime real estate project.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer said that she was told by Kim Guadagno that the ultimatum came directly from Christie. Kim Guadagno strongly denied those claims Monday and described them as “false” and “illogical.”

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Chris Christie’s deputy,  Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, has denied claims that they threatened to withhold disaster funds from Hoboken, a New Jersey city hit by Superstorm Sandy.

New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno told reporters the accusation was “wholly and completely false”.

Hoboken’s mayor alleges she was told her city could lose out on federal money unless she backed a real estate project favored by Governor Chris Christie.

It is the latest claim of corruption to hit the Republican governor.

Chris Christie is often tipped as the party’s top contender to take back the White House in 2016. According to some pollsters, he is one of the only Republicans who could beat Democrat Hillary Clinton, if she decided to run for president.

But communications made public earlier this month suggest Chris Christie’s senior staff orchestrated traffic gridlock in an act of political retaliation against another mayor who refused to endorse the governor’s re-election.

Separately, federal officials are investigating whether Chris Christie misused recovery funds in the wake of Superstorm Sandy to finance an advertising campaign during an election year.

Then on Saturday, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer said that Lt Gov Kim Guadagno had approached her in a car park in May last year and told her recovery funds would be disbursed to her city on condition she approved a property development by the New York-based Rockefeller Group.

Chris Christie's deputy, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, has denied claims that they threatened to withhold disaster funds from Hoboken

Chris Christie’s deputy, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, has denied claims that they threatened to withhold disaster funds from Hoboken

The mayor – who has offered to take a lie-detector test or testify under oath about her claims – recalled Lt Gov Kim Guadagno saying that it was “a direct message from the governor”.

But at Monday morning’s event in Union Beach, New Jersey, Lt Gov Kim Guadagno said that as a victim herself of Superstorm Sandy she found the Hoboken mayor’s allegations “particularly offensive”.

“Mayor Zimmer’s version of our conversation in May of 2013 is not only false but is illogical and does not withstand scrutiny when all of the facts are examined,” she said.

“Any suggestion, any suggestion that Sandy funds were tied to the approval of any project in New Jersey is completely false.”

A spokesman for Chris Christie issued a statement late on Saturday denying the alleged political strong arm tactics.

Hoboken, a low-lying city across the Hudson River from New York City, was inundated with flood waters when Sandy struck in October 2012. Chris Christie’s handling of the recovery effort greatly boosted his popularity.

The city received $342,000 out of an initial $1.8 billion of federal aid distributed by the state, Mayor Dawn Zimmer said. Another rollout of funding is due to disburse $1.4 billion.

The Hoboken mayor said at the weekend that she had decided to speak out now in the hope that her city would not lose out on the second tranche of aid, and because she thought no-one would have believed her beforehand.

The Rockefeller Group has denied the claims, which relate to plans for a 40-storey office tower and commercial development in Hoboken.

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Bruce Springsteen has mocked New Jersey’s embattled governor Chris Christie on the Late Night With Jimmy Fallon show.

Bruce Springsteen joined show host Jimmy Fallon for a duet sending up a scandal embroiling the governor.

It has recently been revealed Chris Christie’s senior staff orchestrated a traffic jam at the foot of a major bridge in an act of apparent political payback.

Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Fallon sang a parody duet to the tune of Born to Run.

“You got Wall Street masters stuck cheek-to-cheek with blue collar truckers/ and man I really got to take a leak, but I can’t, I’m stuck in Governor Chris Christie’s Fort Lee, New Jersey, traffic jam,” Bruce Springsteen sang.

“Some day governor, I don’t know when, this will all end. But ’til then you’re killing the working man who’s stuck in the Governor Chris Christie Fort Lee, New Jersey, traffic jam,” the two sang in duet.

Bruce Springsteen joined show host Jimmy Fallon for a duet sending up a scandal embroiling Governor Chris Christie

Bruce Springsteen joined show host Jimmy Fallon for a duet sending up a scandal embroiling Governor Chris Christie

Chris Christie is an avowed Bruce Springsteen fan – he has admitted weeping after receiving a hug from Springsteen, one of the state’s most famous sons, at a 2012 concert.

The parody came just hours after Chris Christie pledged to co-operate with inquiries into the scandal, which has threatened his political future.

“We let down the people we are entrusted to serve,” he said in a major speech on Tuesday, referring obliquely to the row known as “Bridgegate”.

Chris Christie had previously been seen as a top early contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

“I am the governor and I am ultimately responsible for all that happens on my watch – both good and bad,” he said.

Investigations by the New York and New Jersey news media and by Chris Christie’s Democratic political opponents indicate the governor’s top aides ordered the closure of two local lanes from the town of Fort Lee on to the George Washington Bridge, which connects New Jersey to Manhattan, last summer.

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will propose a longer school day and extending the school calendar in his State of the State speech Tuesday, as he tries to shift attention away from the bridge scandal which threatens to derail his second term and presidential ambitions.

“Our school calendar is antiquated both educationally and culturally,” Chris Christie said in excerpts of the speech obtained by NBC News before the address.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will propose a longer school day and extending the school calendar in his State of the State speech

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will propose a longer school day and extending the school calendar in his State of the State speech

“Life in 2014 demands something more for our students. It is time to lengthen both the school day and school year in New Jersey.”

Chris Christie described the proposal as a “key step to improve student outcomes, and boost our competitiveness”.

The State of the State address comes less than a week after the bridge scandal was uncovered. It has swamped Chris Christie’s administration following the release of internal emails and text messages which suggested that the governor’s aides arranged to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge last September.

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is being sued by six residents over claims his office created gridlock on to the George Washington Bridge as part of a political vendetta.

The traffic mayhem was allegedly instigated in revenge against a mayor who declined to endorse Chris Christie.

Lawyer Rosemarie Arnold, who filed the lawsuit, said her clients were late for work and one had a panic attack.

State legislators plan to release on Friday nearly 1,000 pages relating to their probe of the incident.

Chris Christie, seen as a potential future Republican presidential candidate, has said he is “embarrassed and humiliated” by the incident and has denied any involvement, blaming “deceitful” staff.

He announced he had fired a top aide on Thursday after documents apparently showing her engineering the traffic problems became public a day earlier.

On September 9, two traffic lanes in the borough of Fort Lee on to the George Washington Bridge, which connects New Jersey to Manhattan, were shut for several days, causing gridlock.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is being sued by six residents over claims his office created gridlock on to the George Washington Bridge as part of a political vendetta

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is being sued by six residents over claims his office created gridlock on to the George Washington Bridge as part of a political vendetta

Emails and texts made public on Wednesday appear to link Bridget Anne Kelly, a top Chris Christie aide, to the move.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Anne Kelly wrote on August 13 to David Wildstein, a political appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the bridge.

“Got it,” David Wildstein, who has since resigned, replied.

David Wildstein refused to testify on Thursday in a hearing investigating the matter.

The lawsuit filed, which seeks class-action status, calls for unspecified damages for those who were late to work because of the lane closures and lost pay.

The plaintiffs accuse Chris Christie, Bridget Anne Kelly, David Wildstein and the Port Authority of conspiring and committing “acts of official misconduct”, then covering it up with a “fictional traffic study”.

It claims the residents “suffered economic damages” as a result of the delays.

In a lengthy press conference on Thursday, Chris Christie said he was “heartbroken that someone who I permitted to be in that circle of trust for the last five years betrayed my trust”.

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has decided to fire his top aide Bridget Anne Kelly, who allegedly orchestrated traffic mayhem to pursue a petty political vendetta.

Chris Christie, who is seen as a potential Republican White House candidate, apologized for the scandal, which he said “embarrassed and humiliated” him.

The gridlock was allegedly engineered to punish a Democratic mayor who did not endorse the governor’s re-election.

Chris Christie denied all knowledge of the scandal and said he was misled.

“I’m embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team,” Chris Christie said on Thursday morning at the statehouse in the city Trenton.

The governor said repeatedly that he had nothing to do with the “callous and indifferent” lane closures.

“I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or execution,” he said,

“And I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here.”

Chris Christie spoke as the US Attorney’s office for New Jersey opened an inquiry into the lane closures.

Chris Christie fired top aide who allegedly orchestrated traffic mayhem to pursue a petty political vendetta

Chris Christie fired top aide who allegedly orchestrated traffic mayhem to pursue a petty political vendetta

Emails and texts made public on Wednesday appear to link Bridget Anne Kelly to the closure of traffic lanes feeding to the George Washington Bridge, one of the world’s busiest, in September.

The move caused traffic chaos in the New Jersey borough of Fort Lee, whose mayor declined to back Chris Christie in last autumn’s gubernatorial election.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Anne Kelly wrote on August 13 to David Wildstein, a New Jersey political appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the span.

“Got it,” David Wildstein, a childhood friend of Chris Christie, replied.

On September 9, two of three traffic lanes to the bridge – a major crossing to New York City carrying some 300,000 vehicles on a typical day – were shut for several days.

The communications do not suggest that Chris Christie himself directly had anything to do with the lane closures, but they seem to contradict his previous assertions that none of his staff was involved.

Chris Christie and Port Authority officials initially said the decision to close the lanes was part of a traffic study.

On Wednesday evening, Mayor Mark Sokolich said the alleged skulduggery was “appalling”, adding that the ensuing gridlock had put people in danger by holding up emergency vehicles.

“It’s the example of the pettiest and most venomous side of politics,” Mark Sokolich told the Bergen Record newspaper.

Chris Christie postponed a morning event after the emails were released on Wednesday, later issuing a public statement saying he would not tolerate such behavior by his staff.

David Wildstein, who has since resigned, is due to testify under oath on Thursday before a state legislature committee investigating the matter.

Chris Christie has enjoyed high popularity in his home state, particularly after his response to Superstorm Sandy. But commentators are already suggesting the bridge scandal could tarnish his White House prospects.

“Chris in a jam” ran the headline in the New York Post.

Another tabloid, the New York Daily News, took a double swipe at Chris Christie’s weight and rumored political ambitions, writing: “Fat chance now, Chris.”

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Republican Chris Christie was easily re-elected governor of New Jersey.

Chris Christie was declared the unofficial winner by the US media just minutes after the polls closed.

“Thank you, New Jersey, for making me the luckiest guy in the world,” he told supporters after his victory.

Chris Christie won 60.5% of the vote, against 38% for Barbara Buono, with 99% of precincts reporting.

Chris Christie was declared the unofficial winner by the US media just minutes after the polls closed

Chris Christie was declared the unofficial winner by the US media just minutes after the polls closed

Analysts say Chris Christie’s popularity with voters in Democratic-leaning New Jersey makes him a contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, because it could enable him to claim broad political appeal.

Chris Christie was already a popular figure when Superstorm Sandy devastated the state’s coastline a year ago. His response to the storm attracted national attention.

While many in New Jersey support Barbara Buono’s positions, she has had difficulty raising money, even from Democrats, because of her relatively low profile.

The results of Tuesday’s polls could prove an early measure of the parties’ support ahead of the midterm elections of 2014, which will decide the make-up of the House of Representatives, one-third of the Senate, and the governorships in more than half the states.

In Washington, Barack Obama’s Democratic party controls the Senate, while the Republicans hold sway in the House of Representatives.

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US voters are heading to the polls in the first major round of elections since President Barack Obama won a second term one year ago.

In New Jersey and Virginia, voters will pick governors.

New York City is choosing a successor to three-term Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican-turned-independent.

Tuesday’s races are seen as an early test of the Republican and Democratic parties’ strengths ahead of next year’s critical congressional elections.

In New York City, Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio has taken a commanding lead in opinion polls over Republican Joe Lhota, a former senior official in the mayoral administrations of Michael Bloomberg and his predecessor Rudolph Giuliani.

Bill de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, ran Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign. He is seen as one of the most liberal mayoral candidates in decades.

Under Michael Bloomberg, Joe Lhota ran the city’s public transport authority. He was lauded for quickly getting the vast subway system running again after a huge storm Sandy flooded swathes of the city last year.

In New Jersey, incumbent Republican Governor Chris Christie is expected to win re-election handily.

US voters are heading to the polls in the first major round of elections since President Barack Obama won a second term one year ago

US voters are heading to the polls in the first major round of elections since President Barack Obama won a second term one year ago

His Democratic challenger, state Senator Barbara Buono, has struggled to gain traction.

Analysts say Chris Christie’s popularity with voters in Democratic-leaning New Jersey makes him a contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, because it could enable him to claim broad political appeal.

Chris Christie, 51, was already a popular figure when Sandy devastated the state’s coastline a year ago. His response to the storm attracted national attention.

He has been campaigning across the state since last week, even as polls suggested he had an advantage of at least 20 points on Barbara Buono.

While many in New Jersey support her positions, she has had difficulty raising money, even from Democrats, because of her relatively low profile.

The Virginia governor race pits Democrat Terry McAuliffe against Republican Ken Cuccinelli.

Terry McAuliffe is a businessman and veteran Democratic party fundraiser. He has close ties to former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, serving as chairman of her 2008 presidential campaign.

Ken Cuccinelli, the Virginia attorney general, has angled for the support of the hardcore conservative Tea Party movement of Republicans.

Terry McAuliffe, who has raised much more money, has sought to link Ken Cuccinelli to last month’s partial shutdown of the federal government, which was brought about by Republicans in Washington DC.

Virginia, long a Republican stronghold, has seen a demographic shift in recent years. Barack Obama, a Democrat, won the state in the last two presidential elections.

The results of Tuesday’s polls could prove an early measure of the parties’ support ahead of the midterm elections of 2014, which will decide the make-up of the House of Representatives, one-third of the Senate, and the governorships in more than half the states.

In Washington, Barack Obama’s Democratic party controls the Senate, while the Republicans hold sway in the House of Representatives.

Now in his second term, Barack Obama will vacate the presidency in 2017.

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MTV’s The Jersey Shore star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi went head to head with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Friday at the reopening of the Seaside Heights’ boardwalk, which featured heavily in the reality series.

Snooki and Chris Christie had just filmed separate segments on the Today show when backstage the 25-year-old stopped the Governor to address why he has been critical about the show’s influence on the area in the past.

The incident was caught on tape by Asbury Park Press and it was clear things were frosty between the pair.

While not heard on the video, according to Snooki the politician had made his feelings clear.

“Getting told why we are bad for Jersey. Amazing,” Snooki tweeted.

In the video, Snooki can be heard asking the much larger man to step back from her as they talk.

“Why are you standing so close to me,” Snooki asks.

Leaning comically even closer to her, Chris Christie says: “You asked for my opinion.”

Trying to subdue the situation cast mate Deena Cortese, flanked by Jennifer “JWoww’”Farley, tells the politician she is from Jersey.

“I know you are, I was talking about her,” the governor curtly replies.

Still trying to calm things down Denna Cortese said: “And guess what? I thought you did a good job with the hurricane.”

With the situation not getting any better, Snooki explains: “I just wanted to meet you, and just, hope you start to like us.”

Chris Christie’s response isn’t audible, but as he shakes the girls’ hands as he walks away it is clear neither party is a big fan of the other.

“He doesn’t just like us,” Snooki then tells the cameraman.

Snooki went head to head with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Friday at the reopening of the Seaside Heights' boardwalk

Snooki went head to head with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Friday at the reopening of the Seaside Heights’ boardwalk

Earlier the New Jersey Governor had appeared on Today to celebrate the reopening of the boardwalk after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

Chris Christie told Today‘s Matt Lauer that “things are going well” and he is “feeling great” after undergoing lap-band surgery on February 16.

Looking noticeably less large than he used to, the Governor has already shed an estimated 40 lbs since the procedure.

Chris Christie told Matt Lauer that he realizes his weight will be a “life-long struggle … I don’t plan on taking any victory laps”.

Matt Lauer probed about the publicity over Chris Christie’s surgery and the Governor said he has been surprised by how much attention it has received.

“It’s much more than I imagined,” he said of the curiosity about his weight.

“I mis-evaluated that part of it but in the end, it’s really nice,” the questions are “borne out of concern for me and that’s great,” he added.

Initially the morning show had publicized that Chris Christie would serve as a guest co-host for the program but he had to surrender the morning show title due to FCC rules.

Since Chris Christie is running for a second term as New Jersey Governor, his opponent in the Republican primary, New Jersey lawyer Seth Grossman, could have asserted his right for equal on-air time, an FCC spokesman told PolitickerNJ.
The FCC rules require broadcasters to provide equal airtime for legally qualified candidates.

The cast joined Governor Chris Christie and a host of volunteers to carry out a 5.5 mile long ceremonial ribbon that broke the Guinness World record for longest ribbon cutting.

Instead of being a co-host, Chris Christie simply had an “extended interview” that focused on the state’s recovery after Superstorm Sandy.

Despite the focus on the reconstruction after the storm, Matt Lauer did inquire after the buzz over Chris Christie’s trimmer figure.

His decision to manage his weight was seen as a clear signal that the popular Republican had his eye on the national stage, likely a presidential bid, but Chris Christie downplayed any political motivation.

“That’s not why I’m doing this,” he said, insisting his family – wife Mary Pat, whom he married in 1986, and their four children – was the main inspiration.

“I hope there’s a Christie effect for Christie, and if there’s other stuff that happens for folks, that’s great. But that’s not why I’m doing it. I’m doing it for [wife] Mary Pat, for my kids, and for myself, to be better and to be healthier.”

Gov. Chris Christie was upbeat about the resilience of Jersey residents after the storm. He will welcome President Barack Obama to the Garden State next Tuesday to tour the progress.

He has been criticized by some GOPers who say he has developed a “special relationship” with the Democrat president and his chummy rapport after Hurricane Sandy gave a boost to Barack Obama during the presidential election.

But the outspoken New Jerseyan said in times of emergency, the nation needs to come together regardless of political parties.

“If the President of the United States wants to come and see the people of New Jersey, I’m the Governor and I’ll be here to welcome him here.”

Despite the incident with Gov. Chris Christie, The Jersey Shore cast spent the rest of the day with big smiles on their faces, as while they long ago said goodbye to MTV’s reality series, this was another chance to see the town that had put them on the map.

Clearly emotional for the reality stars, all were seen hugging and kissing as they joined the happy celebrations.

Almost all of the final season’s cast – Deena, Vinny Guadagnino, Sam Giancola, Paul “Pauly D” Del Vecchio, Snooki, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, and JWoww – helped set a ribbon cutting record.

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino was not with his cast mates on Friday.

The hit show had previously been credited with helping tourism grow at the seaside city. AP reported that Pauly D said he and his cast mates wanted the Shore to be the happy place they remember.

“This is known as a happy place. Right after the storm, it was the exact opposite: dead, silent,” he said.

“To see this place being rebuilt makes me happy.”

Snooki called on tourists to come back and enjoy the area.

“You just come here to have a good time,” she said.

“It’s a great place. You come here with your friends. Everybody’s here, it’s getting rebuilt – it’s just amazing.”

Tourism is a near $40 billion industry in New Jersey and the storm not only damaged the physical area but dealt a significant blow to the local economy.

Superstorm Sandy caused $38 billion in damages in New Jersey alone and at Seaside Heights the storm swept a roller coaster into the ocean.

While the roller coaster was taken away this month, but Casino Pier, the seaside amusement park where it used to sit, plans to have 18 rides open this summer.

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has been under fire from conservatives for his effusive praise of Barack Obama after Hurricane Sandy, telephoned the president after his election win but only sent an email to Mitt Romney, it was revealed today.

Chris Christie told reporters at a press conference on Thursday that he had talked to Barack Obama.

“We didn’t have a political strategy discussion,” he said.

“I said, <<Congratulations on your win last night, Mr. President>>, he said, <<Thank you>>.”

Asked about whether he had spoken to Mitt Romney, Chris Christie said: “No. We exchanged emails last night. We haven’t spoken on the phone yet.”

Chris Christie, who is up for re-election in New Jersey next year and is a likely 2016 presidential candidate, is partly blamed by some senior Mitt Romney aides for the Republican nominee’s defeat.

They believe that his outspoken commendations of Barack Obama helped create an aura of bipartisan appeal that was invaluable.

Stuart Stevens, Mitt Romney’s top strategist, has said that Mitt Romney was “winning this race by five or six points before Sandy” but “came out of Sandy one or two behind”.

Part of Mitt Romney’s post-Sandy drop was due to his being all but absent from the television screens for three to four days. But conservatives have been quick to condemn Chris Christie, a one-time vice-presidential possibility for Mitt Romney, for what they regard as a deliberate undermining of the former Massachusetts governor.

When Chris Christie was asked at the time by Fox News if Mitt Romney had any plans to visit New Jersey, he said: “I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested. I’ve got a job to do here in New Jersey that’s much bigger than presidential politics, and I could care less about any of that stuff.”

Governor Chris Christie telephoned Barack Obama after his election win but only sent an email to Mitt Romney

Governor Chris Christie telephoned Barack Obama after his election win but only sent an email to Mitt Romney

In an opinion article entitled “Excommunicating Chris Christie”, Brett Decker of the Washington Times blasted Chris Christie as a moderate on guns, climate change and social issues and as being either “politically tone-deaf” or “purposely” trying to help Barack Obama.

“Mr. Christie handed Mr. Obama a big gift in the form of photo-ops, public hugs and gratuitously complimentary statements about the opposing party’s standard bearer.”

On Wednesday, Chris Christie appeared to be at pains to deny that he had been anything other than completely supportive of Mitt Romney.

“I wouldn’t call what I did an embrace of Barack Obama,” he said at a Wednesday press conference.

“I know that’s become the wording of it, but the fact of the matter is, you know, I’m a guy who tells the truth all the time.

“And if the president of the United States did something good, I was gonna say he did something good and give him credit for it.

“But it doesn’t take away for a minute the fact that I was the first governor to endorse Mitt Romney, that I travelled literally tens of thousands of miles for him, raised tens of millions of dollars for him and worked harder, I think, than any other surrogate in America other than Paul Ryan, who became his running mate.”

According to the Huffington Post, Chris Christie declined an invitation by Romney to an event in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, some three miles away across the Delaware river from Trenton, New Jersey’s capital, in the final week of the campaign.

While this was seen by some as a snub, the political downside of Chris Christie appearing at a political rally when many in New Jersey were still suffering extreme hardship after Hurricane Sandy would have made any appearance unlikely.

Responding to the story, Chris Christie lambasted the “know-nothing, disgruntled Romney staffers” who had made the accusation.

He added that he had told Mitt Romney before Hurricane Sandy hit that he would probably not be available for the rest of the campaign.

“I said to him, <<Listen, Mitt, if this storm hits the way I think it’s going to, I’m off the campaign trail from here to Election Day>>,” he recalled.

“And he said to me, <<Chris, of course. That’s what you have to do. Do your job. Don’t worry about me. I’ll take care of things>>.

“So all this other noise, I think, is coming from know-nothing, disgruntled Romney staffers who, you know, don’t like the fact that I said nice things about the president of the United States. Well, that’s too bad for them.”

 

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie defended his praise for President Barack Obama’s support after Hurricane Sandy, but said he would stick with his Republican ticket and vote for Mitt Romney in this Tuesday’s election.

“The fact of the matter is what New Jerseyans expect from their governor is to work for them, not to work for any particular political party,” Chris Christie told Israel’s Channel 2 television in an interview broadcast on Sunday.

“I’m a Republican and I have endorsed Mitt Romney, I support him and I intend to vote for him on Tuesday,” said Chris Christie, interviewed in his home state by a visiting Israeli television reporter.

Chris Christie, a popular governor widely seen as a possible Republican contender in 2016, had frustrated some in the Romney campaign who feared he had given what could be a critical boost to Barack Obama, a Democrat.

He referred to Barack Obama’s pledge of federal aid during a visit to help New Jersey recover from the storm that knocked out power to some 2.4 million of its residents and said: “If the president of United States comes here and he’s willing to help my people and he does it then I’m gonna say nice things about him because he’s earned it.”

Barack Obama “provided help to my people at one of the worst crises that this state has ever faced”, Chris Christie added.

“When somebody does a good job, they deserve credit.”

“Anybody who is upset in the Republican Party about this, they haven’t been to New Jersey. Come see the destruction, come see the loss.”

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he would stick with his Republican ticket and vote for Mitt Romney

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he would stick with his Republican ticket and vote for Mitt Romney

Chris Christie’s reaffirmation of support for Mitt Romney comes after the typically-brash governor spent a significant amount of time this week praising the President for his handling of the Hurricane Sandy aftermath.

Barack Obama visited New Jersey on Wednesday, taking a helicopter tour of the damaged areas with Christie before walking around the town of Brigantine and talking to survivors.

“I want to thank the president for coming here today [Wednesday, October 31st]. It’s really important to have the president of the United States acknowledge all the suffering that’s going on here in New Jersey and I appreciate it very much.”

Barack Obama returned the kind words, telling the crowds of beleaguered New Jersey residents who had gathered that their Republican governor was “working overtime to make sure that as soon as possible everybody can get back to normal”.

Governor Chris Christie changed his partisan tune after the storm, regularly singing President Barack Obama’s praises in relation to the federal aid given toward disaster relief support.

“The president has been outstanding in this and so have the folks at FEMA [the Federal Emergency Management Agency],” Chris Christie told the Today Show on Tuesday.

He later told news anchor Soledad O’Brien that President Barack Obama “has been incredibly supportive and helpful to our state, and not once did he bring up the election”.

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was Mitt Romney’s first choice as a running mate before he had a sudden change of heart and dumped him for Paul Ryan.

Chris Christie was miffed by Mitt Romney’s decision, particularly because he was led to believe in the weeks leading up to Paul Ryan’s introduction that he would be joining Romney on the Republican presidential ticket, Politico reported, citing conversations with “campaign insiders”.

Now Republican party bosses suspect Chris Christie’s momentary embrace of Barack Obama during the President’s tour of devastated New Jersey this week was a deliberate snub to Mitt Romney.

Chris Christie was vetted so hard by the Romney campaign in July that even some of Mitt Romney’s top advisers believed the New Jersey governor was the final choice as the Republican vice presidential candidate.

But Mitt Romney changed his mind over the course of two weeks this summer, advisers told Politico, and instead offered the job to Paul Ryan, a Republican congressman from Wisconsin.

Mitt Romney was attracted to Chris Christie for his unfiltered style that has helped turn him into rising star – albeit a controversial one – within the Republican Party.

Chris Christie has a propensity toward swearing, making him a bit of a liability for Mitt Romney, but he also has a knack for appealing to middle class voters, with whom Romney has had a hard time connecting.

Republican party bosses suspect Chris Christie's momentary embrace of Barack Obama during the President's tour of devastated New Jersey this week was a deliberate snub to Mitt Romney

Republican party bosses suspect Chris Christie’s momentary embrace of Barack Obama during the President’s tour of devastated New Jersey this week was a deliberate snub to Mitt Romney

At a campaign event for Mitt Romney in Iowa last December, Chris Christie bullied “Occupy” protestors out of a rally, leading Romney supporters to start chanting Christie’s name as they cheered with approval.

“You know what, we’re used to dealing with jokers like this in New Jersey all the time,” Chris Christie shouted at the protesters as they were led out of the rally by Mitt Romney staffers.

“So you guys go all out and chant and do what it is that you want to do.You are so angry, aren’t ya?” Chris Christie badgered.

“It’s so terrible… Oh work it out. Work it all out for yourselves. Work it all out for yourselves.”

In the end, it wasn’t Chris Christie’s bombast that drove Mitt Romney away: It was his disregard for Romney as the man at the top of ticket.

Chris Christie would consistently arrive late at campaign events that he was attending on behalf of Mitt Romney and he would spend the majority of his speaking time on himself, not the Republican presidential candidate.

Mitt Romney advisers began to think that Chris Christie wouldn’t know how to be a “number two” and they suddenly stopped vetting him without explanation just before Romney’s trip to Europe over the summer.

When Mitt Romney returned, he offered the job to Paul Ryan and waited another week to let Chris Christie know, just shortly before announcing his pick publicly.

Chris Christie has since been quietly retaliating against the Romney campaign for his sudden fall from favor, political analysts say.

He made news for his scarce mentions of Mitt Romney during his speech at the Republican National Convention.

“His view was, <<They saw the speech before I gave it. They vetted it. They said it was fine>>,” a Mitt Romney adviser told Politico.

“And the campaign’s view was, <<We told him that we thought there were more opportunities for him to put in stuff about Mitt, and he didn’t take the hint>>. There was a lot of agitation that led to a lot of sarcasm and the kind of comments that people don’t mean, but they kind of do.”

Chris Christie heaped praise on Barack Obama after he was invited onto Air Force One to tour the wreckage left behind by the storm.

“This was as comfortable and relaxed an interaction as I’ve had with the president since I’ve known him,” Chris Christie said.

“And I think it’s ’cause we’re both doing what we wanted to do, which is to get things done.”

Chris Christie said he expected to be criticized for complimenting the president.

“But you know what, I speak the truth,” he said.

“That’s what I always do. Sometimes you guys like it, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes politicians like it, sometimes they don’t. But I say what I feel and what I believe.

“And I’m just doing the same thing with the president of the United States. So, I do pinch myself every day. You know, like when I got on Marine One? I’m pinching myself, believe me.”

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