News Roundup & Open Thread for Thursday November 5, 2015

ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS REDUX
Democrats win their largest N.J. Assembly majority in 36 years. It will be the first time that Democrats will hold Assembly seats in LD 11 since 1991.

LD 16: Provisional ballots in the race between incumbent Donna Simon (R) and Democratic challenger Andrew Zwicker are still being counted, and it might take through Friday to get results. PolitickerNJ says that Zwicker “the brainy scientist and protege of former U.S. Rep. Rush Holt” last year impressed onlookers with his debate prowess in CD12 with a style equal parts urbane, witty and politically savvy.” An Assembly veto-proof majority is 54. If incumbent Republican Donna Simon loses in the too-close-to-call 16th District, the Democrats would have a 52-28 majority.

From the NY Times: New Jersey Republicans faced a stinging defeat… in a rebuke to the party and Gov. Chris Christie.

From the Washington Post on LD 11: Dems had powerful ads against Angelini and Casagrande: “Voting records proved they routinely sabotaged women’s health services. They blocked even the most sensible gun safety measures.” The Post ads, “It worked. Just two years after Chris Christie won a landslide in the state and district, suburban votes ousted the Republicans.”

Matt Friedman of POLITICO says, “I wouldn’t want to be Assembly Republican leader Jon Bramnick today” – the guy who continued to assure us that Republicans would haver a great victory.

The race in a nutshell.

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A donor to Sen. Bob Menendez faces charges for allegedly reimbursing employees of his recently closed medical school who made “straw donations” to candidates in Florida.

Fewer than half of New Jersey students earned passing grades on the new PARCC exams, under a scoring system the state Board of Education adopted Wednesday.

Battle resumes at New Jersey hearing over ocean gas terminal:  Opponents of a proposed terminal for liquefied natural gas imports off the New Jersey and New York coasts readied a final push against the project.

Judge approves N.J. child welfare reform plan that could end federal oversight.

Princeton Township named the best small city in the U. S. in a recent study of 1,268 small cities conducted by WalletHub.

CANDIDATE CHRISTIE
In a boost for Christie, the Bridgegate trial is delayed (again) until April.

Gone viral: Christie video talking about his mother’s smoking and drug addiction being a disease.

Polling:  In both the most recent national poll and in the average of recent polls according to Real Clear Politics Christie is at 2.0 in 10th place. Fox Business Network is expecting a 2.5 minimum in the four most recent national polls conducted through November 4 for candidates to qualify for the main debate on November 10. Depending on which polls they use as their basis we should find out soon whether Christie is on the big or the little stage. Christie in the latest New Hampshire poll is doing better at 7.0 but in the average of the most recent polls he is at 4.3 in 8th place.

If Christie comes back: He returns to a different state Legislature and a different Republican party than when he left,” said Brigid Harrison, a political science professor at Montclair State University. “You now have members of his own party in the Legislature dissastisfied with his leadership ability.”

TRANSPORTATION
House Republicans are under pressure to pass the federal highway bill after rejecting a Senate measure this summer. Maybe they will do so by the end of the week.

Our own Transportation Trust Fund which depends on matching federal monies remains on life support with no clear resolution. While our our legislature has not proposed a gas tax bill, neither has our governor offered a reasonable deal. This is only one of many issues that the legislature must soon tackle as the Assembly returns to business this month.

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