- Associated Press - Monday, August 1, 2016

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The New Jersey Senate on Monday approved Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s nominee for attorney general.

Chris Porrino becomes the state’s first confirmed attorney general since 2013, when Christie appointed Jeff Chiesa to the U.S. Senate and John Hoffman served as acting attorney general. The Senate approved his nomination 37-0 on Monday after the judiciary committee recommended his nomination earlier in the day.

“Forever after today, you’ll be known as General Porrino,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Nicholas Scutari. “I wish you the best of luck.”

Porrino, who previously served as Christie’s chief counsel starting just after news of the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal broke in 2014, succeeds acting Attorney General Robert Lougy, whom Christie appointed to be a judge.

Porrino called the confirmation “an unimaginable honor” in a statement.

His role as the administration’s top attorney during the fallout of the scandal figured in Porrino’s committee hearing Monday. Sen. Nia Gill, who abstained during the committee vote, argued that senators should wait until the trial of two former Christie allies charged in the scandal gets underway next month before moving ahead with the nomination.

But most of the senators questioning Porrino praised him for his integrity, and Scutari said the committee received no notices of opposition to his nomination.

Porrino left government to return to private practice at Lowenstein Sandler after a year and a half as Christie’s top attorney.

Christie announced Porrino’s appointment in June.

Christie, whose term expires in 2018, has called Porrino’s service “invaluable” and said he delivered results for New Jersey residents as the director of the Division of Law from 2012 to 2014.

Porrino settled a case with a Harvey Cedars couple who did not want to cede their land to the state for dune construction. Christie says the case paved the way for the state to protect its coastline.

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