TRENTON - New Jersey's governor announced he was running for president, a U.S. senator was indicted on corruption charges, and Rutgers' football season was marred by firings and criminal charges.
Here's a look at the year that was 2015 in New Jersey:
Christie's presidential run. In the gym of his high school in Livingston in June, Gov. Christie made official what most had long assumed: He was running for president.
"I don't seek the presidency for any other reason than because I believe in my heart that I am ready to work with you to restore America to its rightful place in the world and to restore the American dream to each one of our children," he said in his announcement speech.
The Republican has spent most of his time since then on the campaign trail, including dozens of days in New Hampshire, where the first primary will be held. He struggled for months to gain traction in the polls - including finding himself in one of the undercard debates - before his campaign started to move up over the last few weeks.
What's next: The Iowa caucuses are Feb. 1, and the first primary is in New Hampshire on Feb. 9. Meanwhile, a group of Democrats hoping to succeed Christie in Trenton are jockeying for position ahead of the 2017 governor's race.
Bridgegate indictments. If Christie remains in the presidential race until April, his campaign may have to deal with daily headlines from the trial of two former aides charged with closing down approach lanes to the George Washington Bridge, causing massive gridlock, to punish a Democratic mayor who didn't endorse Christie for reelection.
Bill Baroni, Christie's appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees the bridge, and Bridget Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff, were indicted in May on counts including conspiracy, fraud and deprivation of civil rights. They both pleaded not guilty. Christie ally David Wildstein pleaded guilty to the scheme.
Christie hasn't been charged and has disavowed any prior knowledge.
What's next: Lawyers for Baroni and Kelly are arguing against the government's case in pretrial motions. The trial is scheduled to begin April 4. Republicans in more than half the states will have voted by then.
Menendez indicted. Gifts from a friend or bribes to get special treatment?
That's the question jurors may eventually have to answer in the federal corruption case against Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez. He was charged April 1 with accepting nearly $1 million in campaign donations and gifts from a longtime friend in exchange for a stream of political favors on the donor's behalf.
Menendez has pleaded not guilty and vehemently denies he did anything wrong.
"I am not going anywhere. I'm angry and ready to fight because today contradicts my public service and my entire life," he said in a speech the day he was indicted.
What's next: While pretrial arguments may wind their way to the U.S. Supreme Court, Menendez is continuing with his regular Senate work.
Tracy Morgan's recovery. After a June 2014 crash that left a friend dead and the comedian with serious injuries, Tracy Morgan returned to television last year - first with an emotional interview on NBC's Today and then as host of Saturday Night Live.
He settled a lawsuit against Wal-Mart Inc., as did the family of comedian James "Jimmy Mack" McNair, who was killed when one of the company's trucks slammed into the back of a limo van carrying the group from a show in Delaware. The driver, Kevin Roper, was indicted this month on criminal charges. He has pleaded not guilty.
What's next: Morgan is set for a national comedy tour starting next month. He will be in Atlantic City on Feb. 12, Englewood on April 2, and New Brunswick on April 16.
Rutgers' rough year. It was not a good season for the 4-8 Rutgers football team.
Aside from its struggles on the field, there were the coach's three-game suspension for making inappropriate contact with a professor regarding academics and charges against current and former players in a series of home-invasion robberies.
The year ended with the athletic department cleaning house, firing coach Kyle Flood and athletic director Julie Hermann in November.
What's next: Patrick Hobbs signed a five-year contract that will pay him $560,000 annually to run the athletic department. He quickly hired Ohio State defensive coordinator Chris Ash as Rutgers' new coach.
Among the other stories that made headlines in New Jersey this year:
Atlantic City: The struggling resort made it through a full year without another casino closing, but crucial developments in 2016 could shape its future for years to come, including a possible vote to allow two casinos in North Jersey.
Teresa Giudice: Real Housewives of New Jersey star was released from prison last week after serving nearly a year for bankruptcy fraud.
Jason Pierre-Paul: The Giants' two-time Pro Bowl defensive end returned to the team in November after losing his right index finger and mangling two other fingers in a July Fourth fireworks accident.
ExxonMobil Corp.: New Jersey settled an environmental damage lawsuit against the energy giant for $225 million after originally arguing Exxon should pay $8.9 billion.