Senior Political Reporter for NJ.com Darryl Isherwood sat down with NJTV News anchor Jack Ford to discuss Isherwood’s list of the Top 10 Political Stories of 2013.
10. Christie blasts House Republicans over Sandy aid:
There was a debate over whether Sandy aid should be off set with other spending cuts and the House Republicans pulled it off the table, Isherwood said. “The governor went ballistic and said hey look every other natural disaster that has happened to this country people have gotten their aid in a matter days and we are heading into weeks and months, his is getting ridiculous. At one point he actually came out and said I blame House Republicans and their speaker John Boehner,” Isherwood said.
9. Christie gets weight loss surgery in secret:
In May, it was discovered that Governor Christie went away in February for weight loss surgery and it became national news, Isherwood said. “People were saying here is the first step in his presidential run, he is going to try to slim down,” he said.
8. Obama Tours the Jersey Shore:
President Obama came to the Jersey Shore to take a look after Sandy and to see how the recovery was going, Isherwood said. There is this scene of Christie and Obama on the boardwalk and Christie is winning Obama a stuffed animal at one of the boardwalk game stands, he said. “In the middle of a reelection campaign and he is facing a member of President Obama’s party in the reelection bid and here Buono had to come and wait in line to get to the president and there is Christie playing boardwalk games with him. It was a pretty amazing site,” Isherwood said.
7. U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg dies:
Isherwood said that Lautenberg died in the beginning of June, at the age of 89 and the death was tragic but not a huge surprise because he was sick for quite a while and he had already announced that he would not be running for reelection. He said that this death caused an immediate replacement and a special election.
6. Court strikes down DOMA:
“This invalidated a piece of the defensive marriage act and paved the way for same-sex marriage. It was hailed nationally as this huge decision in terms of same-sex marriage, particularly in New Jersey where the fight has been going for some time now to achieve same-sex marriage. It was a major stepping stone,” Isherwood said.
5. Christie jettisons Hoens:
Isherwood said that the governor has been at war with the Senate Democrats over his nominations to the Supreme Court. “Christie for the second time over the summer, did not renominate a judge to the Supreme Court. That had never been done before and now he has done it twice,” Isherwood said.
4. Supreme Court okays same-sex marriage:
“There was a lower court decision that would have allowed same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court weighed in and they were asked to issue an injunction that would have blocked it and they declined to issue it which really said okay gay marriage is legal in the state of New Jersey,” said Isherwood. He said that Christie had a legal challenge that was pending but when the Supreme Court signaled that it was a unanimous decision, Christie pulled the plug, knowing he had the losing hand.
3. Booker wins special election:
“There was a special election for Lautenbergs replacement and Cory Booker the mayor of Newark challenged Steve Lonegan and it was a closer race than lot of us expected. Booker won by 11 points,” Isherwood said.
2. Christie and Sweeney battle over DREAM Act:
“This one is kind of amazing because we saw a resolution to it. Battling over what is called the DREAM Act, which would have provided tuition for the children of undocumented immigrants,” Isherwood said. Christie was not going to budge on on certain things and the senate was pushing for it, he said. “Last week they came up with a compromise and the bill got passed and signed and everybody claims victory. Christie gets a win, Sweeney gets a win,” Isherwood said.
1. Christie wins second term:
Christie beat Barbara Buono by 22 points and scored huge victories by receiving 51 percent of the hispanic vote and over 20 percent of the African American vote, Isherwood said. He said that the margin was not a huge surprise but it was one of the largest margins that has been seen in gubernatorial politics. “He has really set himself as the front runner for the next presidential election,” Isherwood said.