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A history of perceived revenge on Gov. Chris Christie’s critics includes an ex-governor who lost police protection, a professor who lost financing and a mayor’s town that became gridlocked.


In almost every case, Mr. Christie waved off any suggestion that he had meted out retribution. But to many, the incidents have left that impression, and it has been just as powerful in scaring off others who might dare to cross him.

Now, the governor is dogged by another accusation of petty political revenge. Two close political allies ordered the abrupt shutdown of two local access lanes on the George Washington Bridge in September, gridlocking Fort Lee, N.J., for four days. The borough’s mayor said it was punitive because he had declined to endorse the governor’s re-election.

The governor mocked the suggestion as preposterous. But Democrats in New Jersey — and privately, some Republicans too — say it would hardly be out of character for Mr. Christie. As the governor prepares to run for president, the accusation has reinforced his reputation as a bully.

“Every organization takes its cues from the leadership as to what’s acceptable and what’s not, and this governor, in his public appearances, has made thuggery acceptable,” said Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski, the Democrat leading the hearings that have exposed the role of the governor’s aides in the lane closings. “For the governor to say, ‘I knew nothing about this’? He created the atmosphere in which this is acceptable.”

It was the governor’s penchant for confrontation that first propelled him onto the national stage in 2010. As he pushed to cut public employee benefits, his staff celebrated video clips of him dressing down teachers at town hall-style meetings by posting them on YouTube. (“You want to come up here? Come up here,” the governor said to one teacher, a fellow Republican, who hesitated until the governor’s security state troopers gave him no choice. Wagging a finger, Mr. Christie lectured the man, then dismissed him from the hall.)

But his confrontations are not always that public.

In 2011, Mr. Christie held a news conference where he accused State Senator Richard J. Codey of being “combative and difficult” in blocking two nominees. Mr. Codey, a Democrat who had served as governor following the resignation of James E. McGreevey, responded that he had not only signed off on the nominations, but had held a meeting to try to hurry them along.

Three days later, Mr. Codey was walking out of an event in Newark when he got a call from the state police superintendent informing him that he would no longer be afforded the trooper who accompanied him to occasional public events — a courtesy granted all former governors. That same day, his cousin, who had been appointed by Mr. McGreevey to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was fired, as was a close friend and former deputy chief of staff who was then working in the state Office of Consumer Affairs.

“I understand politics, that a new administration comes in,” Mr. Codey said, but he believed this was not about Mr. Christie bringing in his own people. “This was all about sending a message.”

The governor laughed at the allegation of retribution, and his spokesman belittled the Democratic Party chairman who complained about it.

Later that year, the governor was pressing hard on Alan Rosenthal, the Rutgers political scientist whom Republicans and Democrats had chosen as the tiebreaking member of the commission that was redistricting the state’s legislative districts. Mr. Christie wanted Mr. Rosenthal to vote for the map put forward by the Republicans on the commission, but instead he chose the Democrats’ plan, saying it offered more stability.

Soon after, Mr. Christie used his line-item veto to cut $169,000 for two programs at Mr. Rosenthal’s institute at Rutgers.

The apparent payback is not always directed at Democrats — Mr. Christie can be just as hard on Republicans in an attempt to enforce party discipline.

In 2010, when a blizzard paralyzed the state, State Senator Sean T. Kean, a Republican, told a reporter that the “one mistake” the Senate president and governor had made was not calling earlier for a state of emergency, which might have kept more cars off the roads.

Mr. Christie was smarting from criticism that he had remained at Disney World during the storm. When he returned, he held his first news conference in Mr. Kean’s home district. Shortly before, a member of the governor’s staff called Mr. Kean and warned him not to show up. His seat was eliminated in redistricting the following year.

Mr. Kean, now in the Assembly, declined to comment. At the time, an anonymous administration official told The Star-Ledger that Mr. Kean got what he deserved.

Last year, another Republican, State Senator Christopher Bateman, voted against the governor’s plan to reorganize the state’s public medical education system. Mr. Bateman had been working with the governor to get a judge appointed in his home county. Suddenly, after months when it looked as if it would happen, the nomination stalled.

H/T: NY Times

During his time in office, Ken Cuccinelli worked to pass a personhood law which would have criminalized not only abortion but also several forms of contraception and fertility treatments. On top of that, he declared that God will punish America over abortion rights, which he compared to slavery, and routinely pressed to close clinics that provide abortions as well as to defund Planned Parenthood.

But to hear David Barton tell it, the only reason that Cuccinelli lost his bid to become governor of Virginia last year was because he was not anti-abortion enough!

Filling in for Glenn Beck over the holiday break, Barton brought on anti-abortion activist Michael New to discuss the state of the movement. New asserted that the “pro-life” position routinely beats the “pro-choice” position in public polling, which prompted Barton to declare that an analysis of Cuccinelli’s lost found that “if he had been stronger on pro-life issues, he probably would have won the election in Virginia.”

"That’s fairly amazing," Barton added, “to say, for Virginia which - northern Virginia is so blue - that if he had been more pro-life he would have won, which means we must be picking up public opinion across the board on this kind of issue.”


From the 12.26.2013 edition of TheBlazeTV’s The Glenn Beck Program:

h/t: RWW

h/t: David Nir at Daily Kos Elections


Chile’s new president promises 50 reforms in 100 days:

Michelle Bachelet won Chile’s presidential elections with about 62 percent of voter support on Sunday, the highest share for any presidential candidate since the country returned to democratic elections in 1989.

Tax reform, which includes raising corporate taxes to 25 percent from 20 percent, is likely to be the first goal for Bachelet. Education and health reforms are next. Good-quality schooling is generally only available to those who can afford to pay for it; massive student protests hurt the popularity of outgoing conservative President Sebastián Piñera. If Bachelet waters down her promises or if she faces challenges in Congress, she could face more protests herself.

As well as an ambitious social spending program, Bachelet pledged to reduce the deficit from 1 percent of gross domestic product to zero by 2018.

Read: Chile’s Bachelet promises reforms after landslide election win

Photo: REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

Even if Democrat Mark Herring ends up with more votes than his Republican rival Mark Obenshain in the tightly contested Virginia attorney general’s race, he could still lose.

Herring is currently ahead of Obenshain by a follicle–the current official count states that Herring has 164 more votes than Obenshain out of more than two million cast. A recount is all but guaranteed and litigation seems likely. But even if after the dust clears Herring remains in the lead, under Virginia law, Obenshain could contest the result in the Republican dominated Virginia legislature, which could declare Obenshain the winner or declare the office vacant and order a new election.

“If they can find a hook to demonstrate some sort of irregularity, then there’s nothing to prevent them from saying our guy wins,” says Joshua Douglas, an election law expert and professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law.  “There’s no rules here, besides outside political forces and public scrutiny.”

An election contest is a specific post-election procedure for disputing the official outcome of an election. Different states have different rules for election contests–some put them in the hands of the courts, others in the hands of the legislature. Obenshain couldn’t simply contest the election out of the blue. He’d have to argue that some sort of irregularity affected the result. Still, Virginia law is relatively vague in explaining what would justify an election contest, and historical precedent suggests that co-partisans in the legislature are unlikely to reach a decision that hurts their candidate.

“History shows that contests in the legislature are generally more politicized than if they’re adjudicated in the judiciary,” says Edward Foley, a professor at Moritz College of Law. That applies to both parties–but it’s Republicans who have the majority in the Virginia General Assembly. The Virginia state senate is evenly split, but Republicans have the majority in the state house. A spokesperson for Obenshain didn’t respond when asked directly if, after exhausting all other avenues, Obenshain would pursue an election contest.


That discrepancy could be the basis for a court challenge, because legal experts believe the Supreme Court’s 2000 decision in Bush v. Gore requires jurisdictions within a state have to have uniform rules for counting votes. But if even if Obenshain loses in court, he could turn to the Virginia legislature with an election contest. The law states that Obenshain needn’t prove that Fairfax’s decision to allow more time for voters to argue their eligibility in order to go forward with an election contest, he need only “specific allegations which, if proven true, would have a probable impact on the outcome of the election.”

Obenshain may not have to prove that an irregularity would definitely have swung the election. “Virginia law permits a contest where a candidate can show a ‘probable impact’ on the result of an election, which is a relatively lax standard compared to other states,” says Foley.

Nevertheless there is a substantial political risks to this approach. Virginia Republicans could incur a severe political backlash if Virginians see them as thwarting the will of the electorate or subverting the results of an election simply because they didn’t like the outcome. Between a recount and potential litigation, we’re also still a long way away from a potential election contest.

Yet a campaign to persuade voters that the close election was simply the result of Democratic shenanigans at the polls isn’t inconceivable, especially with a base convinced that in-person voter fraud, which is very rare, is a deciding factor in elections. If after all options have been exhausted, Obenshain decides he wants to take his case to the state legislature, the only thing stopping Republicans from ordering a new election or declaring him the winner would be fear of a political backlash or their own self-restraint.

“It’s absurd to have a partisan legislature have the final say in who wins a close election, particularly with so few standard to guide it,” says Douglas. But it could happen.

If the Virginia GOP decides to steal the election for Attorney General to put in Mark Obenshain instead of Mark Herring, who was duly elected by the people of Virginia for that spot, then the state’s GOP will be hurt severely as a form of backlash. 


h/t: David Nir at Daily Kos Elections


"Duck Dynasty" star Willie Robertson resisted entreaties to run in a special congressional election this year, but he’s still getting involved in the race.

Robertson is out with a new 15-second ad endorsing businessman Vance McAllister (R), the underdog in the race to replace former congressman Rodney Alexander (R-La.).

McAllister faces state Sen. Neil Riser (R) in a runoff Saturday. Riser was the top vote-getter in the open primary, taking 32 percent, compared to McAllister’s 18 percent.

The 5th district is home to the Robertsons, who have the most popular cable TV reality show of all time, and they have previously appeared at events for McAllister.

Here’s more on their matchup from Roll Call.


Mark Herring, the Democratic nominee for attorney general, declared victory late Tuesday night, but Republican Mark Obenshain did not concede and the razor-thin contest could be headed for a recount.

As of 11:30 p.m., the unofficial State Board of Elections tally had Herring up by 106 votes.

Herring released his statement after the tally of provisional votes in Fairfax County added a net gain of 57 votes for the Democrat, which would give him a lead of 163 votes out of 2.2 million cast.

If Herring prevails, come January Democrats will hold all five of Virginia’s statewide offices — two U.S. Senate seats, governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general — for the first time since 1969.

“Voters in Virginia have spoken, their voices have been heard and I am honored to have won their votes and their trust to become Virginia’s next Attorney General,” said Herring, a state senator from Loudoun.

“Over the course of the past week, a thorough and extensive process has ensured that every vote has been tallied and accounted for. The margin was close, but it is clear that Virginians have chosen me to serve as the next Attorney General.

“Today we begin the process of governing.”

Obenshain, a state senator from Harrisonburg, said in a statement that the contest is “the closest statewide election in Virginia history.”

He added: “We owe it to the people of Virginia to make sure we get it right, and that every legitimate vote is counted and subject to uniform rules.”

With the contest remaining unusually close, a recount is likely once the State Board of Elections certifies statewide results Nov. 25.

A candidate who loses by less than a half of 1 percent can ask for a recount paid by taxpayers. A candidate who loses by between 0.5 percent and 1 percent must pay for a recount.

~ Richmond Times-Dispatch

Virginians may be in for a long wait, possibly into December, to learn who will become their next attorney general, the official who serves as the commonwealth’s top lawyer in such a prominent office that it has become a springboard to the governor’s mansion.

In fact, “AG” has come to stand for “almost governor” in state politics.

State Sen. Mark D. Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) held a 727-vote lead over state Sen. Mark R. Herring (D-Loudoun) on Wednesday evening, according to the Virginia State Board of Elections. More than 2 million votes were cast in the race.

The margin widened and narrowed throughout the day, as local election boards began reviewing Tuesday’s vote. Boards spent the day processing provisional ballots, votes cast by individuals who didn’t have proper ID at the polls or who went to the wrong polling place. They also began to canvass returns, combing through them for human and mechanical errors.

The boards have until Tuesday to certify their returns as accurate and submit them to the state. The Virginia State Board of Elections is scheduled to certify all returns Nov. 25. After that, the trailing candidate may request a recount.

Both campaigns dispatched observers Wednesday to monitor canvassing. They said they would let the process play out and expressed confidence they would ultimately win.

Go Mark Herring!
Also, there will likely be one or two special elections in the Virginia State Senate to fill in the seat(s) vacated by Ralph Northam and/or Herring.

h/t: Washington Post

I’m frequently amused by fringe right reactions when they lose elections. I know I shouldn’t be at this point, but I truly am. One such race - one I’d almost forgotten to check on with all of the more important races occurring nationally last night - occurred in a Columbus, Ohio suburb where an ultra-conservative Tea Party RINO ran for re-election to a city council seat (as she simultaneously continued to pull away from her local community in trying to create a national image for herself). Long time readers probably already know who I’m referring to - but in case you don’t, it’s none other than Sara Marie Brenner

When last we left the ongoing saga of Brenner and her crumbling “empire,” she used our blog in a money-grab campaign fundraising blast. And immediately prior to that she was slapped with a fifth tax lien for tax malfeasance in her troubled small business. After that little mini-drama, we didn’t hear much from those we know in Ohio (who typically send us news tips on a regular basis). That is, until this morning.

"SMB lost her election and is crying on Twitter about it. She’s even blaming Democrats calling them sinners on her website," the tipster wrote in anonymously. 

And sure enough, a quick scan of both confirm the truths in that statement. On her twitter account, Brenner has been quoting Bible verses since last night. Here are a few of the more interesting tweets hereherehere and here. Additionally, in a statement posted to her website about losing the election, she seems to blame everyone but herself for the loss.
Apparently Brenner’s past caught up with her this election - the tax liens, the lack of attendance in council meetings, and the political fights she’s had locally in and outside of meetings where her constituents have continually questioned her business judgment - judgment that rightfully should be called into question after five tax liens. 

H/T: Tim Peacock at Peacock Panache

Texas voters have rejected a plan to convert the shuttered Houston Astrodome into a convention center and have likely doomed the iconic stadium to demolition.

Tuesday’s referendum would have authorized Harris County to issue up to $217 million in bonds to turn the world’s first multipurpose domed stadium into a giant convention and exhibition space.


Goodbye, Mr. Kookinelli! 

AG is still TCTC (Too Close To Call). Herring, pull it out!


  1. Chris Christie isn’t a moderate.
  2. I don’t even care if he’s a moderate, he’s an abusive ASSHOLE.
  3. He’s a failed Governor.

Have fun, New Jersey. Thanks for electing that idiot twice for no fucking reason.

So true. He’ll be a likely favorite for the 2016 GOP nomination.

1st time since 1993 that NYC will have a Democratic mayor.