12/06/2017 07:15 AM EDT
By Matt Friedman (firstname.lastname@example.org; @mattfriedmannj)
Good Tuesday morning!
Absent a scandal, it's rare that a political party gets a real crack at defeating an incumbent member of Congress. And when the opportunity does arise, there's a good chance it's in his or her first term.
By most measures, freshman Democrat Josh Gottheimer in the 5th should be vulnerable next year. But is he really?
He's sitting on $2 million in the bank and has plenty of time to raise more with no signs of a serious primary challenger to force him to spend any of it.
Meanwhile, the GOP primary to take Gottheimer on is getting nasty, as I write here.
One contender, Steve Lonegan, has run unsuccessfully for the House twice before, in two different districts - one that used to cover part of the current district, where he grew up, and one far away in South Jersey, just a few years ago. He's sought the Republican nomination for governor twice and lost. He ran for U.S. Senate and lost. He unsuccessfully sought to become Bergen County executive. And during that time, he's made a slew of controversial comments and actions.
John McCann is a lawyer and former Cresskill councilman who also recently declared his candidacy and has watched as Lonegan has wrapped up endorsements from the reddest part of the district, including Mike Doherty, Steve Oroho and Jill and Parker Space. McCann has taken a pro-Trump stance, noting that the president once called Lonegan a "loser" and "nasty guy."
WHERE'S CHRISTIE? In Trenton for a 10:30 am press conference, topic not announced
WHERE'S MURPHY? No public schedule
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: North Hudson Community Action's Joan Quigley, Princeton history and public affairs professor Julian Zelizer
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I put the likelihood of it happening at only 10 percent, which is to say it's a 90 percent likelihood that the Legislature says to property taxpayers in New Jersey, 'We don't give a damn about you.'" - Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon on the odds of the interest arbitration cap being renewed before the deadline
WHAT TRENTON MADE
ARBITRATION - "Cap on Police, Fire Salary Increases Likely to Expire This Year," by Observer New Jersey's Christian Hetrick: "A law credited with restraining property tax growth is likely to expire at the end of the year while New Jersey lawmakers are on holiday. The state currently imposes a 2 percent cap on yearly salary hikes negotiated in arbitration for police and firefighters. The law is due to sunset on Dec. 31, unless it gets renewed, as Gov. Chris Christie is advocating. But the governor is not likely to get his wish before Christmas. The last scheduled voting session for both houses is on Thursday. The Senate has another voting session Dec. 18, and the Assembly is meeting as well for a quorum that day, although no voting session has been scheduled in that chamber. ... Democrats, including Governor-elect Phil Murphy, have refused to weigh in on whether to renew the cap until a task force issues a report on the law's effectiveness. That report is due Dec. 31, the same day the cap expires and well after the last scheduled voting sessions in the Legislature this year." Read the report
BRIDGE AND TUNNEL - "As Trump loops, Cuomo and Murphy tiptoe toward a perilous relationship," by POLITICO's Dana Rubinstein and Ryan Hutchins: "Their gestures of public affection belie a more precarious reality. As Cuomo tacks left in preparation for a potential presidential run in 2020, a Democrat is ascending to office in Cuomo's backyard with none of the baggage Cuomo carries from his seven years as a triangulating Democrat. A progressive with Democratic majorities in both chambers of the Statehouse, one of Murphy's first gambits will be an attempt to legalize recreational marijuana, something Cuomo considers a 'gateway drug.' Murphy, like Cuomo nemesis and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, ran for office promising to hike taxes on millionaires. Cuomo routinely dismisses the tax as an issue that Senate Republicans (whose hold on power critics say he enabled) simply will not countenance. If Murphy's expected, out-of-the-gate liberalism underscores Cuomo's own vulnerabilities on the progressive front, it's not the only potential pitfall in their formative relationship. There's also the state of the region's infrastructure and the limited pool of money available to address it. "They're gonna kill each other," said David Wildstein, the admitted mastermind of the George Washington Bridge scandal and a former Christie appointee at the Port Authority." Read the report
AT LEAST UNTIL PAUL MULSHINE WRITES A GAME-CHANGING COLUMN ABOUT HOW LONEGAN COULD WIN - "Democrats watching savage GOP primary fight with glee," by POLITICO's Matt Friedman: "In North Jersey's 5th Congressional District, Republican candidate Steve Lonegan - a deeply conservative former small town mayor who has run unsuccessfully for a number of higher offices - is attacking his GOP rival, John McCann, as a "phony Republican" with a 'patronage position' who doesn't pay his taxes. McCann, a former councilman in the Bergen County borough of Cresskill, points out that President Donald Trump has called Lonegan a 'loser' and says his opponent has a 'problem with women' Watching all this with glee are New Jersey and national Democrats. Lonegan and McCann are competing to take on U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a freshman Democrat who, under normal circumstances, would be considered vulnerable in the Republican-leaning 5th District.'" Read the report
AMTRAK'S FAULT - "New Jersey Transit withholds data subpoenaed for lawmakers' safety probe," by Bloomberg's Elise Young: "New Jersey Transit is suppressing internal documents subpoenaed by state legislators investigating how the once-model commuter system fell into a safety and financial crisis. Eight years of reports by NJ Transit's auditor general haven't been provided. Neither have records about delayed installation of life-saving train technology. Though NJ Transit has handed over 28,000 pages of documents, the missing information may point to troubles deeper than what lawmakers have found so far at the nation's biggest statewide mass-transit agency, vital to New Jersey's economy as a link to New York City jobs ... In this case, NJ Transit is withholding some key information sought by a committee that has been reviewing management and safety since October 2016, after the agency's first fatal train wreck in two decades ... One audit report, never publicly released but referenced in other documents, linked employee abuse of medical leave to commuter bus and rail disruptions. In another surprise to legislators, who approve NJ Transit's budget, records detailed multimillion-dollar settlements in at least 30 discrimination lawsuits since 2012." Read the report
ALSO AMTRAK'S FAULT - "NJ Transit quietly writes big check to family of reputed mobster," by NJ Advance Media's Larry Higgs: "Expenses from a tunnel project that was canceled seven years ago continue to haunt NJ Transit, which this year wrote a $6.13 million check to the family of a reputed mobster for land the agency wanted for the doomed project. The settlement ended a seven year battle with the family of longtime North Jersey garbage magnate and Township of Washington resident Carmine 'Papa Smurf' Franco over the value of a triangular piece of land that NJ Transit condemned for the ARC tunnel project canceled by Gov. Chris Christie in October 2010." Read the report
NOT SURE WHOSE FAULT THIS IS. OH RIGHT, IT'S AMTRAK'S - "NJ Transit shows little progress on safety system as deadline looms" Read the report
HONEYBEE STUNG - "DWI case against N.J. lawmaker who went on vulgar rant can proceed, judge says," by NJ Advance Media's Amanda Hoover: "A state assemblywoman accused of driving while intoxicated must face the charge against her, despite claims that a blood sample taken the night of a crash was drawn illegally, a judge has ruled. Maria Rodriguez-Gregg, R-Burlington, sought to suppress results of a blood test, arguing that the sample was taken without her consent because she did not sign all the necessary forms, and also challenged whether there was probable cause for the test. A judge, however, ruled late last week that the toxicology results are admissible in court, due to "the totality of surrounding circumstances" that indicate she did not refuse the test. 'There was no evidence that the defendant was forced or coerced to submit to the giving of the blood sample,' Burlington County's Municipal Court Presiding Judge Dennis McInerney wrote in a ruling Thursday." Read the report
"Analysis: Women underrepresented on Murphy's transition committees," by POLITICO's Ryan Hutchins: " Gov.-elect Phil Murphy promised to build out an inclusive and diverse administration, starting with his selection of Sheila Oliver, his lieutenant governor, as commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. But the makeup of Murphy's transition team and leadership committees sends a more mixed message, according an analysis by the Center for American Women and Politics, a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. The governor-elect's 10-member paid transition staff includes just three women, two of whom are minorities, the center reported." Read the report
- "Dr. Salomon Melgen tied to Menendez case could get 30 years or more for Medicare frau" Read the report
-"ACLU-NJ: N.J. bail reform praised, but mass incarceration persists | Opinion" Read the op-ed
-"Don't let Christie fence you out of Liberty State Park before he leaves office | Opinion" Read the op-ed
-"NJ lawmakers use Leadership Money from taxpayers to pay extra for staff"
THE TRUMP ERA
LANCE AND GOTTHEIMER: PASS THE SALT - "Gottheimer and Lance make last-ditch effort to save SALT deduction," by POLITICO's Matt Friedman: " With many New Jersey taxpayers likely to be hit hard by the tax cut bill working its way through Congress, a bipartisan House duo from the Garden State is proposing a 'fix.' Republican Rep. Leonard Lance and Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer announced they're putting forward a proposal to the House conference committee to save the state and local tax deduction, or SALT, in its entirety, which under the bill would be reduced to $10,000. 'This has been part of the federal code since 1913, the advent of the modern code, and I'm advised that it was even contained in the income tax statute that was passed to fund the Civil War when Abraham Lincoln was president," Lance said during a press conference and call with reporters.'" Read the report
-"Booker, Menendez say House Republicans from blue states can save your property tax break" Read the report
CLEARLY MOST NEW JERSEYANS ARE CLAMORING FOR THIS - "House Republicans seek to weaken N.J. gun control after Las Vegas, Texas massacres," by NJ Advance Media's Jonathan D. Salant: "House Republicans are bringing up their first gun rights bill for a vote since the deadly Las Vegas massacre: a measure that would compel New Jersey to honor concealed weapons permits for people who got them in their home state. The debate, scheduled for this week, comes after two mass shootings in two months, the killing of more than 50 people at a Las Vegas concert in October and more than two dozen parishioners at a Texas church in November. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act is the top legislative priority of the National Rifle Association" Read the report
-"Codey, Dems gather to endorse Mikie Sherrill in effort to unseat Frelinghuysen" Read the report
-"Asylum seekers face steeper hurdles to remain in U.S." Read the report
HOW MANY COPS ARE REALLY NEEDED TO GUARD THE MAYOR OF NEWARK? - "Newark's Executive Protection Unit racked up more than $1 million in overtime, records show," by TAPInto Newark's Elana Knopp: "Twenty-seven Newark police officers listed as members of the City of Newark's Executive Protection Unit have racked up more than $1 million dollars in overtime between January 1, 2017 and August 25, 2017, according to documents obtained through an Open Public Records Act request. Records show the 27-member security unit includes 24 police officers, one police captain, one police lieutenant and one police sergeant, all earning a base salary as City of Newark police officers of approximately $100,000 and earning overtime payments totaling $1121,557.20. Overtime payments for each individual officer ranged between $15,000 and $108,000 during the time period. Members of the security unit provide 24-hour security each day for the mayor. The security unit accompanies the mayor when he travels locally and abroad-including on international trips. As a councilman representing the city's South Ward, Baraka repeatedly criticized then Mayor Cory Booker for employing a security detail made up of 16 members-11 fewer than Baraka has now." Read the report
THIS IS THE KIND OF SH__ M__THERF___ERS HAVE MIXED FEELINGS ABOUT - "Jersey City runoff results a mixed bag for Fulop," by The Jersey Journal's Terrence T. McDonald: "The results of today's four council runoffs brought mixed news for Mayor Steve Fulop, whose team defeated one of his council critics on the West Side while another potential political adversary won a closely watched contest in the Downtown. Fulop's allies in Wards A and B, Denise Ridley and Mira Prinz-Arey, won easy victories, according to preliminary results from the county clerk's office. Prinz-Arey, 45, defeated incumbent Councilman Chris Gadsden, a Fulop critic. Ridley, 34, will succeed Fulop ally Frank Gajewski. Both women are first-time candidates. In Ward C, Councilman Rich Boggiano won a second term with about 60 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results. Boggiano, 74, who has opposed many of the mayor's major initiatives, defeated Fulop ally John Hanussak. In the heated and expensive Ward E council race to succeed Fulop ally Councilwoman Candice Osborne, James Solomon defeated Rebecca Symes. Solomon, 33, often criticized Fulop on the campaign trail and pledged to reform the city's tax abatement process and other real-estate matters." Read the report
AFTER A NEARLY 4 MASTRO TAX BREAK- "Mars Wrigley chooses Newark for its new HQ," by NJ BIZ's Vince Calio: "Mars Wrigley Confectionary has decided that it will move its US headquarters to a 110,000-square-foot facility in Newark and renovate its Hackettstown facility. Its global headquarters will remain in Chicago. Its official announcement of the move is expected later Tuesday. The candy maker was considering expanding its existing headquarters in Chicago or moving to Newark. It chose Newark after negotiations with city officials dating back several years. Those negotiations began in 2012 while now US Senator Cory Booker was Newark's Mayor, and ended with current Mayor Ras Baraka." Read the report
SO THAT'S THE PURPLE STUFF IN THE SUNNY D AD - "Trenton drinking water turned purple by chemical that can cause person to collapse," by The Trentonian's David Foster: "A New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) spokesman said that the city informed the agency that the discolored water was caused by an excess concentration of potassium permanganate, a chemical used in the standard water treatment process. 'The cause of the incident is being investigated and focusing on pumping calibrations,' DEP spokesman Larry Hajna said Tuesday. 'Potassium permanganate is not considered a health risk.' Despite the DEP press flack's assertion that the public was not in danger, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) paints a different picture of the chemical used to control odor and taste and remove iron, hydrogen sulfide and manganese from drinking water. Ingestion of potassium permanganate can lead to burning sensation, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, and even cause shock or collapse, according to information on the CDC website. Long-term exposure to the oxidizing chemical can have effects on the lungs, resulting in bronchitis and pneumonia, the CDC states." Read the report
GYM, TAN, LITIGATION - "Private New Jersey beach fears state will seize its business," by The AP's Wayne Parry : "The latest challenge to Republican Gov. Chris Christie's plan to build or widen dunes along most of the state's 127-mile coastline comes from a privately owned beach in Point Pleasant Beach. Risden's Beach fears the state's real motive is to seize its business and operate it as a public beach. The state says it has no intention of operating Risden's Beach, but the company's lawyer says the state is claiming the legal right to do so for itself. 'What they are doing is explicitly and unambiguously acquiring the right to operate a public beach,' said John Buonocore, a lawyer for Risden's. 'If they don't intend to take it, they shouldn't do it.' ... The litigation, filed last month, is the latest in a long line of court challenges to New Jersey's dune program, which began shortly after Superstorm Sandy devastated parts of the shore in 2012." Read the report
WOW YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO BUY A SMALL 1 BEDROOM HOBOKEN APT WITH THAT MONEY - "Over $500k spent on Bhalla's mayoral campaign leading up to historic win," by The Hudson County View's John Heinis: "Bhalla's campaign cumulatively raised a whopping $468,639, according to a 29-day post-election report filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission on November 27th. That's considerably more than what Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who backed Bhalla's candidacy in lieu of seeking a third term, raised in 2009 and 2013 combined, which came out to about $316,860, according to ELEC reports." Read the report
WELCOME TO THE 90S, TRENTON - "Inside the new Starbucks in downtown Trenton," by NJ Advance Media's Michael Mancuso: "Trenton's downtown scene became noticeably more lively as of yesterday, fueled by Starbucks coffee. Starbucks has opened for business at the corner of South Warren and East Front streets on Monday." Read the report
JINGOLI BELLS. DOES THIS SMELL? - "Jingoli Energy Co Gets Contract For Atlantic City Study," by Route 40's Elinor Comlay: "DCO Energy, a company controlled by the Jingoli family, won a six-month contract to report on the feasibility of establishing a "microgrid" to support Atlantic City facilities in the event of a regional electrical grid failure. The study will look into adding new facilities to the city's Midtown Thermal Control Center, which is owned and operated by a DCO Energy unit. Atlantic City's council awarded the contract last week. The study will be paid for with $175,000 in grant funding from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. There were two other bidders for the contract, according to city documents. The feasibility study will consider adding additional power capacity at the Midtown Thermal Control Center to support critical facilities that include the Atlanticare Regional Medical Center, Boardwalk Hall, and some hotels and casinos." Read the report
-"Vertreese victorious in Hillside nailbiter" Read the report
-"Sutherland tapped for (Cape May County) prosecutor" Read the report
-"Cop settles ticket quota lawsuit against N.J. town (Mendham) for $650K" Read the report
-"Tuckerton police dog attack video obtained by Press" Read the report
-"A Veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, the late Jack O'Keefe of Morris County knew who the real enemy was" Read the report
-"Paterson school official accused of assaulting subordinate" Read the report
-"Zur fundraises for Gillibrand" Read the report
THE GUY THE AG'S OFFICE WENT AFTER TO HELP DAVID SAMSON'S CLIENT (ALLEGEDLY) - "Environmental groups blast Christie nomination to replace environmental lawyer on Pinelands Commission," by The Burlington County Times' David Levinsky: "Environmental groups are mobilizing to lobby against Gov. Chris Christie's move to try to replace a commissioner on the New Jersey Pinelands Commission with another sitting commissioner. Christie made the unusual move Monday of nominating Ed McGlinchey, now Camden County's appointed representative on the commission, to one of the commission's seven gubernatorial seats. And not just any seat. Christie nominated McGlinchey to replace Ed Lloyd, an environmental lawyer who has served on the commission since 2002 and is considered one of the strongest conservationists on the 15-member panel, which is charged with overseeing development and land use within the million-acre Pinelands reserve." Read the report (more on that headline here)
SEND LAWYERS GUNS AND MONEY - "Strip clubs, bribes and blood money: The inside story of a $150M medical fraud," by NJ Advance Media's Ted Sherman: " Earlier this year, a New Jersey man who built a $150 million business from nothing took the witness stand in a government prosecution. In three startling days of testimony, he explained how his company won business in an already-competitive industry. The bribes included high-end cars and impossible-to-get concert tickets. The private jets took clients to Super Bowls and Caribbean islands. And, of course, there were strippers. By the end of those three days, David Nicoll had described something that sounded like a lost episode of The Sopranos. But Nicoll wasn't hauling garbage or running a gambling operation. He was lining up for the right to test your blood." Read the report
R.I.P. - "Irene Morgan, 89, New Jersey's funny, irrepressible 'flower lady'" Read the report
-"Homeless Samaritan buys home with money from GoFundMe fundraiser" Read the report
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