Good Wednesday morning!
Yesterday, former 7th District congressional candidate Rosemary Becchi became 11th District Republican congressional candidate Rosemary Becchi.
The change, engineered by local Republican county chairs, spares Tom Kean from a primary and challenges Mikie Sherrill — whom Republicans had trouble recruiting candidates against — with a female candidate who has shown the ability to both self-fund and raise significant money. Larry Casha, who had been running, stepped aside after a bit of hesitance.
Yes, this prevents Kean from having to spend resources on the primary. But I think the biggest upshot is that if Kean doesn’t have a competitive primary, he doesn’t have to move right. He will have an easier time keeping his distance from President Trump in a district that, let’s face it, probably wouldn’t have flipped had it not been for the president.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Someone else asked me if I put that New Jersey hated everyone just because of the variety of answers I got and this wasn’t the case. The most common answer I got from New Jersey folks was ‘we hate everyone’ or something similar.” — Instagram user Matt Shirley, who surveyed his users on which states they hated the most and posted a map of it. New Jersey is most hated by New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, which itself is really just an inferior version of New Jersey.
DAYS MURPHY HAS SPENT OUT OF STATE SINCE BECOMING DGA CHAIR: 12
WHERE’S MURPHY?: At the 11 a.m. opening of a restaurant at Rutgers-Newark, then giving a 2 p.m. speech at the Essex County Hall of Records for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Building announcement
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Hunterdon Dem Chair Arlene Quinones Perez, Assembly Clerk Dana Burley
NDA: STRAIGHT OUTTA TRENTON — Murphy campaign tells Roginsky she is free to speak about workplace issues by POLITICO’s Katherine Landergan: The attorney for Gov. Phil Murphy’s campaign sent a letter Tuesday to Julie Roginsky, a former key adviser to the governor, saying she and anyone else who worked on his campaign are free to talk about workplace issues. The letter to Roginsky, one of the early architects of Murphy’s campaign, comes in the wake of explosive comments she made in an interview with The Star-Ledger‘s editorial page that she and others are being prohibited from talking about “what I believe is the most toxic workplace environment I have ever seen in 25 years of working on political campaigns.” “The purpose of this letter is to confirm what Governor Murphy has said on several occasions already. If anyone — employees, volunteers or consultants — would like to discuss workplace issues on his campaign, she or he is free to speak about it publicly,” the governor’s campaign attorney, Paul Josephson, wrote in the letter. Roginsky said she could not comment as she had not yet seen the letter.
—Campos-Medina: “Justice over order: Women of color and NJ’s #metoo moment”
JACKED UP — Ciattarelli declares candidacy for governor; attacks Murphy as ’out of touch’, by POLITICO’s Matt Friedman: Republican Jack Ciattarelli on Tuesday declared his candidacy for governor in the 2021 election, slamming Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy as “out of touch” with regular New Jerseyans. The unusually early campaign kickoff was peppered with “damns” and an introductory video that played on Ciattarelli’s first name: “People who say we can’t fix New Jersey? They don’t know Jack.” Ciattarelli, a former state assemblyman who left office after unsuccessfully seeking the Republican nomination for governor in 2017, criticized Murphy for not focusing on New Jersey’s high tax burden, paraphrasing a quote from the governor in which he said “If you’re a one-issue voter, and tax rate is your issue — either a family or a business, if that’s the only basis upon which you’re going to make a decision, we’re probably not your state.”
OR WILL THE OFFICE BECOME AMNESTY INTRASTATE? — Will Murphy’s comptroller take aim at the powerful? by POLITICO’s Ryan Hutchins: Matt Boxer, New Jersey’s first state comptroller since the 1930s, seemed to give no favor to the politically powerful. Boxer, serving as the state’s chief financial watchdog, hauled South Jersey Democratic power broker George Norcross in for an interview. He looked at insurance contracts in Essex County, where the influential Joe DiVincenzo is executive. And he took aim at a company tied to Bill Palatucci, then Gov. Chris Christie’s chief political booster. But when Boxer’s six-year term ended in 2013, the comptroller’s office — by then established as a high-profile, stepping-stone post — quickly became a behind-the-scenes, run-of-the-mill audit shop. Two comptrollers and another six years after Boxer’s departure, Gov. Phil Murphy will get to pick his own comptroller in coming weeks — subject to state Senate approval — following the departure Philip J. Degnan at the end of last year.
TUSK LUCK — “George Gilmore hasn’t left Ocean County GOP politics, but a federal judge may send him away this week,” by The Asbury Park Press’ Jean Mikle and Erik Larsen: “With his sentencing scheduled for Wednesday, Gilmore, 70 — whose political acumen includes an understanding of and an appreciation for the long game — may be preparing for a comeback beyond whatever temporary damnation should await him in the months ahead. Since his conviction in April, Gilmore has been publicly upbeat and still active in county politics, even as he faces a potential maximum sentence of more than 30 years behind bars and fines totaling $1.5 million.”
THERE IS NO FLAVOR, ONLY JUUL — Murphy signs bill eliminating flavored vapes, vetoes another targeting Juul, cartridge-makers by POLITICO’s Sam Sutton: Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation Tuesday banning the sale of flavored vape and e-cigarette products, capping a yearslong effort by New Jersey lawmakers to eliminate highly addictive candy- and fruit-flavored cartridges from store shelves. But while action on the flavor ban, NJ S3265 (18R), drew applause from lawmakers and health advocates, Murphy vetoed legislation, NJ A5922 (18R), that would have effectively knocked Juul Labs and other prominent e-cigarette cartridge manufacturers — many of which are subsidiaries of Big Tobacco companies — out of New Jersey’s market.
0.89 MASTROS, NOT COUNTING RECOUPS — “New Jersey taxpayers have $8M tab for tax break task force,” by The AP’s Mike Catalini: “New Jersey taxpayers face an $8 million tab to cover the cost of Gov. Phil Murphy’s task force investigating business tax breaks … The task force also said its investigation led to voluntary terminations of awards that saved the state $11 million. It has also alerted the Economic Development Authority to $540 million in awards that should be considered for suspension or termination.”
THIS IS NEW JERSEY. IT’S ‘GREAT ADVENTURE’— Rutgers names first black president, who vows to ‘strengthen ties to political leadership’ by POLITICO’s Carly Sitrin: The Rutgers University Board of Governors on Tuesday unanimously approved Jonathan Holloway’s “historic” appointment as the school’s 21st president and first African American to lead New Jersey’s flagship university in its 253-year history. “Today marks the beginning of a grand new adventure,” Holloway said at the board meeting. “Rutgers, of course, is a great place, and I’ve come here with the hope that I can help make it better in some way.” Holloway, 52, will replace outgoing President Robert Barchi as head of a university whose total enrollment is 70,876 students statewide, more than 60 percent of whom are non-white. He comes to New Jersey from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., where he serves as provost and a professor of history and African American studies.
TRANSPORTATION — Murphy: No NJ Transit fare hike for next fiscal year by Ryan: Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday he will propose a state budget in February that will not require a fare hike for NJ Transit trains and buses. “The budget I propose the Legislature next month for fiscal year 2021 will be our third budget in a row with no fare hike for NJ Transit commuters,” Murphy said at a graduation ceremony for train engineers, held in Kearny. This would mark the fifth year fares have remained stable.
FRESHMAN ASSEMBLYMAN HAS WRONG COUNTY FOR LAST NAME — Freshman assemblyman proposes term limits after succeeding 24-year incumbent, by POLITICO’s Matt Friedman: Former Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris) served 24 years in the lower house before leaving office last week. On the day Assemblyman Brian Bergen (R-Morris) took office as Carroll’s successor, he introduced just one piece of legislation: A constitutional amendment to limit Assembly members to 12 years in office — six full terms. The two developments were not related, Bergen said. “It wasn’t inspired by [Carroll],” Bergen said in a phone interview. “I’ve always been a big proponent of term limits. I think our job is to go and do the best job we can for our citizens, but that is a temporary post and we should allow other people to have a term so we can increase innovation and participation by the community.”
WELL ACTUARILLY… — “NJ Is set to change a key assumption about public-employee pension investments,” by NJ Spotlight’s John Reitmeyer: “Later this year, New Jersey will begin a planned lowering of the public-employee pension system’s assumed rate of return for its long-term investments. The move will bring New Jersey more in line with what other states have been doing in response to changing market conditions, as bond yields shrink and annual economic growth rates are more modest compared to those seen before the Great Recession. A seemingly arcane aspect of fiscal planning, the change has important ramifications for the state’s budget, in addition to the pension system itself. It could also have political consequences, since the lowering of the assumed rate coincides with the ongoing effort to ramp up state pension funding to the full amount required by actuaries.”
CHILDREN OF BUONO VOTERS NEED NOT APPLY — “Christie institute to help Seton Hall students aspiring to careers in public policy,” by The Record’s Dustin Racioppi: “Seton Hall students looking to get into public service may be eligible for financial support under a new agreement between the university’s law school and former Gov. Chris Christie’s policy institute … The Christie Institute for Public Policy, a nonprofit launched last year, plans to donate money toward one or more scholarships or a fund to repay loans for Seton Hall Law students ‘who aspire to careers in public interest or public service,’ according to a joint announcement.”
—Zwicker and Singleton: “Who’s giving N.J. candidates $100M to win our vote? Not knowing hurts democracy”
TWEET OF THE DAY — @GovMurphy: “Pawsitively thrilled to announce that New Jersey’s official state dog is now the Seeing Eye dog.These dedicated companions embody the spirit of New Jerseyans — loyal, hardworking, and committed to service.”
HOUSE OF PAYNE — Biden picks up backing from 4 more black lawmakers, by POLITICO’s Nolan D. McCaskill: A quartet of black lawmakers endorsed Joe Biden for president on Tuesday, giving the former vice president his 15th endorsement from the influential Congressional Black Caucus. Reps. Frederica Wilson and Alcee Hastings of Florida, Donald Payne of New Jersey and Sanford Bishop of Georgia each backed Biden in a joint statement first obtained by POLITICO, casting him as the candidate who can beat President Donald Trump in November and unify the nation.
FUN FACT: THE NAME ‘SUDHAN’ MEANS ‘VERY RICH’ — “Attorney for Sudhan Thomas in JCETP, AG cases dropping him, claims he owes over $25k,” by The Hudson County View’s John Heinis: “According to the court filing, Adams’ firm was retained by Thomas to represent him in a civil lawsuit filed by former JCETP employee Nuria Sierra, which alleges that Thomas committed financial improprieties while head of JCETP … Adams continues that Thomas never paid any additional legal fees, even after GRSD was asked to represent him in an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”
MANALAPAN — “Former Manalapan school board member admits molesting teen,” by The Asbury Park Press’ Kathleen Hopkins: “Joseph Tringali, 47 … pleaded guilty before Superior Court Judge Joseph W. Oxley to aggravated criminal sexual contact in a plea deal that will allow him to stay out of jail. Tringali, who resigned from his school board seat and his position as vice president and chaplain of the Manalapan-Englishtown Volunteer First Aid Squad following his arrest in September, will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and also will be under lifetime parole supervision.”
“Bridgewater: It’s no longer illegal to buy liquor on credit in township,” by The Courier-News’ Mike Deak: “On Thursday, the township council voted to repeal part of Bridgewater’s alcoholic beverage ordinance dating back to the repeal of the 18th Amendment that declared ‘no sales of alcoholic beverages for consumption on licensed premises shall be made on credit.’ That seemingly outlaws the use of a credit card when buying drinks at a bar or restaurant, conceivably making generations of township residents into unwitting criminals.”
HOW MANY HORSES HAD TO DIE FOR THIS SCANDAL? — “Gluegate trial begins in bid to overturn Morris Township election,” by New Jersey Globe’s David Wildstein: “A trial to determine whether 42 uncounted provisional ballots in a race for Morris Township Committee began today and will continue Friday after Judge Stuart Minkowitz went home sick. Peter Mancuso was declared the winner by just 15 votes over Democrat Bud Ravitz after a recount of the November 2019 general election. Democrats want to see if the 41 uncounted votes will reverse the outcome of the election.”
MOTORISTS FORCED TO ENDURE NATURE’S SPLENDOR INSTEAD OF NOISY, SMOKE-FILLED, WINDOWLESS ROOMS — “Waze navigation app sending Borgata seekers to Jackson Township,” by The Press of Atlantic City: “The Jackson Township Police Department said there has been a ‘tremendous increase; in disabled motor vehicles in the Colliers Mills Wildlife Area, apparently because of an ad placed in the popular navigation app. ‘Although the address on the ad lists 1 Borgata Way in Atlantic City, NJ, which is correct, the location pinned with the ad is actually in the middle of the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area, near Lake Success,’ the department said on its Facebook page. ‘Currently, the app is sending motorists into the wildlife area, onto unpaved roads, which eventually lead to them becoming disabled.’”
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