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Winners and Losers

Each week in Face Time, NJBIZ editors approximate Chris Christie's mood and facial expressions based on the news.

FACE TIME: ANNOYED

Just when it seemed the AshBritt mess had receded far back into the minds of voters, it came out last week that Washington is investigating how New Jersey awarded the no-bid contract to the politically connected cleanup firm. That came on the heels of a report that debris monitors AshBritt used overcharged towns by more than $300,000.

WINNERS

Triple Five

Sure, the messy courtroom brawl with the Jets and Giants isn’t getting any prettier, but Bergen County is moving forward on a plan to float up to $800 million in bonds on behalf of the Canadian developer to steer American Dream from gaudy eyesore into stately pleasure-dome. Great news for a long-overdue project.

Princeton University

The prestigious school is king of the Ivies, getting the No. 1 overall ranking from U.S. News & World Report, where it outlasted such heavyweights as Harvard, Yale and Columbia. The Garden State had a strong showing overall, with three schools in the magazine’s top 100.

Ray Lesniak

The senator mostly got the ending he wanted on the Economic Opportunity Act, to much cheering and fanfare from the business base. All it needs now is Christie’s likely signature. We originally had room for Al Coutinho here, but, well, see the next column for details.

LOSERS

Robert Menendez

As chair of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, you’d expect the senator’s words to carry some weight when, in early September, he said avoiding military action in Syria would create “huge consequences” for the United States. As the president made clear a week later, that’s not an option in which he’s interested.

Barbara Buono

Another day in the life of her vertiginous campaign: Imagine getting an endorsement from the Camden mayor, then hosting a news event outlining your plan to save troubled cities like Camden, but watching the mayor spend the day with your opponent instead. Oh well. At least the ‘plan’ was just a collection of already-announced ideas.

Al Coutinho

The news that the popular, influential assemblyman wouldn’t seek re-election was surprising, but it was nothing compared to last week’s bombshell that he’d step down amid a criminal investigation into his family’s nonprofit foundation. It’s a sour way for Coutinho to end his career, considering the high-stakes Economic Opportunity Act he championed now seems all but certain to become law.

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