Gov. Christie nominates new Port Authority chairman

Christie Traffic Jams
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie looks up during the invocation before he gives the keynote address to the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce annual Congressional Dinner in Washington, Tuesday, April 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Gov. Chris Christie has nominated a former New Jersey attorney general to become the chairman of the embattled Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, he announced at a 3 p.m. press conference today.

John J. Degnan, a Democrat and former attorney general under Gov. Brendan Byrne in the late 1970s, will go before the state Senate for approval.

Christie said he expects Degnan to "take the agency where it needs to go" at a time it faces "significant challenges both to its mission and its purpose it serves."

Degnan, who resigned as attorney general in 1981 to run for the Democratic nomination for governor, is a native of West Orange, Essex County. If approved, he would take over the role of Port Authority chairman, vacated by David Samson just over a month ago.

Samson, a well-known figure in New Jersey political circles and a Christie mentor, was the highest-profile figure to lose his position at the Port Authority as part of the long-simmering Bridgegate scandal.