Lawmakers admit: New Jersey 101.5 listeners helped kill Christie book deal
New Jersey 101.5 video
YOU made your voices head ... and YOU made a difference!
Gov. Chris Christie this week blamed all the "haters" for scuttling a series of legislative measures this month, one of which would have allowed him to profit from a book deal while in office.
But according to lawmakers in Trenton, it was listeners of the state's most-listened-to radio station — specifically listeners of New Jersey 101.5 weekday morning host Bill Spadea — who flooded legislators' offices with nearly endless phone calls protesting the book deal.
The admission was revealed Saturday in an NJ.com article titled "The inside story of how controversial Christie bills fell."
One Democratic lawmaker is quoted as describing the revolt against the bills as "New Jersey's version of the Boston Tea Party."
Christie had backed three fast-track measures that the Legislature eventually failed to approve. In addition to his book deal, Christie was willing to sign a law giving pay raises to hundreds of state workers, including Superior Court judges, which would have cost the state millions of dollars a year. Christie also wanted to end the requirement that local governments publish their legal notices in local newspapers.
And even though the last-minute dealmaking developed in December, just before the holidays, New Jersey voters were well aware of what their lawmakers were up — in no small part because of the coverage by New Jersey 101.5, as well as the state's newspapers, which churned out blistering editorials against Christie and his supposed "revenge bill" against the press.
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This was not the first time New Jersey 101.5's audience has rattled lawmakers.
Back in the fall, Spadea was the face and voice of opposition to Christie's 23-cents-a-gallon gas tax hike.
Christie even called in to Spadea's show, which led to a heated exchange about the math behind the gas tax.
Although lawmakers eventually passed the measure, they were forced to fight for a constitutional amendment ballot question that many political observers initially thought would have been a slam dunk. Until, that is, Spadea and his guests — including Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno — made the case about the question's pitfalls.
Voters eventually passed the ballot question, but it was a close one: 1.4 million to 1.2 million. The counties in New Jersey 101.5's FM broadcast signal range either voted against the question or were more closely divided than the rest of the state.
Even state Sen. Paul Sarlo freaked before the election when voters started asking him about the ballot question. "Shame on the radio stations like 101.5," he said at a news conference.