US Republican star Chris Christie must work out how to address the scandal that has threatened any hope at running for president in 2016 when he gives his annual State of the State address.
The New Jersey governor's office is being investigated after allegations that a top aide, since fired, helped to orchestrate massive traffic jams at the foot of one of the world's busiest bridges in an apparent act of political revenge.
Mr Christie apologized in a marathon press conference last week and said he was "humiliated," but he denied involvement.
Two state legislative panels announced plans to continue their investigations into the incident that one Democratic leader has called an "abuse of power" probe.
"The question is, who abused their power and how high did it go?" the Democrat, Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, said.
The larger-than-life governor, who has crafted an image of blunt pragmatism and ability to work with Democrats, is now on the defensive as his second term in office begins. His inauguration takes place next week.
Christie must address his Democratic-leaning state on issues far beyond the traffic jam. He is expected to revive the theme of bipartisanship, which has taken a hit in the scandal.