N.J. Politics Roundup: Buono’s car accident, Menendez’s new allegation, and more – The Star-Ledger –

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TRENTON — State Sen. Barbara Buono had a message after she was involved in a car crash Monday night: Wear your seatbelt.

The Democrat — who is challenging Gov. Chris Christie in November’s gubernatorial election — was issued a summons for not wearing a seat belt after the crash. She later tweeted:

The story drew the most comments of the day on the page: more than 125 comments Tuesday.


U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez vehemently denied another allegation Tuesday. A spokesman for the New Jersey Democrat denied a report that Menendez flew on a wealthy donor’s private plane at least one more time than he has acknowledged.

Menendez has been the subject of a series of allegations over the last few weeks, including accusations he flew repeatedly to the Dominican Republican to have sex with prostitutes — which he has denied.


Christie’s weight has been back in the national spotlight lately, with some questioning if it will be a liability should he choose to run for president in 2016. What do you think?

Would Chris Christie’s weight affect whether you vote for him in a presidential election?


Will Christie’s significant popularity with New Jersey voters help Republicans win control of the state Legislature? A new poll suggests no.


In his first State of the Union address since winning re-election, President Barack Obama pushed a deeply divided Congress to embrace his plans to use government money to create jobs and strengthen the nation’s middle class. He declared Republican ideas for reducing the deficit “even worse” than the unpalatable deals Washington had to deal with during his first term.

The Associated Press noted that d to compromise.” But Republicans warned that the president’s second-term agenda would bring more tax increases and escalate deficit spending. The Star-Ledger’s editorial board noted that Obama is “changing tactics, learning from the experience of effective leaders such as Gov. Chris Christie and President Ronald Reagan.”


• The state Assembly’s Law and Public Safety Committee will head a package of 24 bills today aimed at reducing gun violence. Many of the bills would make New Jersey’s gun laws even stricter.

• State Senate and Assembly committees will hear public comment at Montclair University about the plan to close two state institutions for people with developmental disabilities: the North Jersey and Woodbridge Developmental centers. The hearing begins at 11 a.m. You can stream the hearing live at


• Seth Grossman, a lawyer from Somers Point, Atlantic County, announced he will challenge Christie for the Republican nomination in this year’s governor’s race.

• Former Newark Deputy Mayor Ronald Salahuddin was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison after being convicted of conspiracy to commit extortion.

• Revel, the heavily hyped Atlantic City casino that has been mired in financial struggles, has reportedly hired bankers and lawyers to prepare for a possible bankruptcy.

• State Sen. President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) wrote a guest editorial for The Star-Ledger explaining how monitors would keep New Jersey’s Hurricane Sandy funds from harm’s way.

POLITICS AROUND THE WEB Carl Bermanson, the former mayor of Glen Ridge, is planning to run for governor again, seeking the Democratic nomination. NJ Transit is about to spend about $ 800,000 for an environmental study on a possible rapid bus route between south Jersey and Philadelphia. Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, a Democrat, has invited Christie, a Republican, to his state of the county address next week. DiVincenzo has long called Christie a friend.

Washington Post: Obama announced that the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan will be cut in half over the next 12 months.

New York Times: The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee approved the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel as the nation’s defense secretary after a two-hour debate. Now, the full Senate takes up the nomination.


Call or e-mail a Star-Ledger Statehouse reporter.

Star-Ledger staff writers Seth Augenstein, Matt Friedman, David Giambusso, Ryan Hutchins, and Susan K. Livio, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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