10/11/2017 07:16 AM EDT

By Matt Friedman (mfriedman@politico.com; @mattfriedmannj)

The first New Jersey gubernatorial debate is over. I'd say Guadagno managed to put Murphy in a number of rhetorically awkward situations. But according to my ultra-scientific Twitter poll, Murphy did better. Here are a few of my takeaways:

Phil Murphy's dodge on the arbitration cap was obvious, partly because it was the very first question. He didn't answer it and everyone could tell. But it's called "interest arbitration" so maybe some people fell asleep for his non-answer.

I predict Murphy's pledge to make New Jersey a sanctuary state "if need be" will be cut into an ad by the RGA or some other Republican independent expenditure group. Guadagno, on the other hand, used some heinous crimes committed, or allegedly committed, by undocumented immigrants to frame the immigration debate. This was very Trump-esque, and Murphy called her out on it.

Phil Murphy is not moving to the center. He wasn't just playing it up in the primary. He's either a dyed-in-the-wool liberal or calculated that that's what this political moment has called for.

Trump is as big a problem for Guadagno as Christie. There were several questions about President Trump or his policies. Why? Because he's dominating the news cycle. Voters already don't pay all that much attention to the gubernatorial race. But people in New Jersey are probably a lot more familiar with Trump's Twitter fights than either of the candidates. And that's not going to help Guadagno in a state where his approval rating is well below 40 percent.

The debate was too short. One hour just isn't enough. There wasn't room for follow-up questions to pin candidates down on specifics. So we really didn't learn anything new.

WHERE'S CHRISTIE? No public schedule


** A message from Pre-K Our Way: This year, NJ's legislative leaders supported the first funding for pre-k expansion in nearly a decade - for only a few thousand children. 50,000 3- and 4-year-olds are still waiting. That's not right! Let the candidates for governor know that you support pre-k expansion. Email them at https://prekourway.org/contact-2018-gov-candidates/. Email us at info@prekourway.org. Follow us on Twitter/Facebook. www.prekourway.org. **

HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Hudson County GOP Chairman Jose Arango, Assemblyman David Wolfe

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Jon McGreevey" - Kim Guadagno in the debate last night, inadvertently (I think) combining the names of our last two elected Democratic governors


THE ONLY JUICY PART OF THE TRIAL YESTERDAY- "Menendez trial: Senator looked for an official with 'the best juice' to help Melgen," by POLITICO's Matt Friedman: "When Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen sought help early on in his $9 million billing dispute with Medicare, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez knew he would need to contact heavy-hitters, according to documents introduced Tuesday at Menendez's federal corruption trial. "Dr. Melgen is still in the non-litigant stage, so we should determine who has the best juice at CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] and Department of Health," Menendez wrote in an August 2009 email to his chief of staff, Danny O'Brien. It would take three years, but eventually, Menendez would advocate for Melgen at the highest level possible - with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. That, prosecutor say, is one of several favors Menendez, a Democrat and New Jersey's senior senator, did for Melgen in exchange for private jet flights, lavish vacations and three-quarters of a million dollars in political contributions." Read the report

POOR JURORS - "For jury on Menendez bribery trial, how much is too much?" by NJ Advance Media's Thomas Moriarty and MaryAnn Spoto: "'Jury fatigue is real,' said Lee Vartan, a former federal and state prosecutor who is now a white-collar defense attorney at Chiesa, Shahinian & Giantomasi. 'Jury fatigue starts on the first day of trial.' Vartan said fatigue -- which occurs in both brief or lengthy trials -- is more of a concern for prosecutors than for defense attorneys because prosecutors largely control the way the evidence comes into the trial. 'It's a real concern in any trial because no jury truly wants to be there, even in a high-profile case like this one,' Vartan said. 'So it's certainly something that both sides need to be cognizant of.' Jury consultant Alan Tuerkheimer, the principal of Chicago-based Trial Methods, said many jurors are probably leaning in one direction or another at this point in the trial, and may become frustrated if attorneys repeatedly pursue lines of questioning that simply re-confirm what they've already heard." Read the report

- "The ticking time bomb faced by next NJ governor," by Mark Lagerkvist for WNYC: "New Jersey's public pension system faces a $253 billion crisis that could result in higher taxes for residents, fewer services or even bankruptcy for state government. Gov. Chris Christie will hand that fiscal time bomb to a new chief executive that state voters elect in November. "The next guy is going to face this - whoever he or she is. And it's going to be worse. And let me tell you, when the state runs out of money, don't think the state is going to pay this. They're not!" warned Christie during a 2015 town hall meeting. The next "guy" will be either Democrat Phil Murphy or Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. Neither has announced plans that would avoid the potential financial meltdown - and Guadagno has some pension-related baggage of her own. The dilemma pits the pension promises to 760,000 current and retired public workers against the tax burden shared by all 9 million state residents." Read the report

JAMES BROWN NEWS - "We had to cancel 35 trains after 20 engineers took surprise day off, NJ Transit says," by NJ Advance Media's Larry Higgs: "NJ Transit officials blamed the cancellation of 35 trains on Columbus Day on 20 engineers who they said unexpectedly took the day off, causing overcrowding and frustrating riders. NJ Transit announced Monday afternoon that rail tickets for the Morris & Essex and Montclair-Boonton lines were being cross-honored, but officials didn't give a reason for the action ... But union officials disputed NJ Transit's explanation and said that only five engineers were no-shows on Monday and that others stepped up to work on their days off. 'NJT did ask engineers to work their relief days and several did,' said James P. Brown, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers general chairman. 'Had they not, more trains would have been annulled.'" Read the report

TIME IS GOING REALLY SLOW - "Why N.J. patients with chronic pain still can't get medical marijuana," by Philly Inquirer's Jan Hefler: "Five months ago, a New Jersey health panel voted in favor of dramatically expanding the list of conditions that may be treated with cannabis. Chronic pain, Alzheimer's, autism, anxiety, migraines, and other maladies should be added to the list of 13 ailments, said the panel of doctors and other health professionals. ... But it doesn't appear a new list will be adopted soon. The state Department of Health now says the panel must hold another meeting - to take a vote that would finalize its first vote. That's scheduled for Oct. 25, according to Alex Bekker, chairman of the Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel. ... Then, the health commissioner has up to six months to decide whether to approve the panel's recommendation." Read the report

-"Sweeney announces education, job training program he wants replicated throughout state" Read the report


WEINSTEIN - "Murphy on Weinstein: 'There's no place in Democratic politics for this type of behavior'", by POLITICO's Katie Jennings: "Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Murphy said Tuesday he has never received any money from embattled Hollywood executive and prolific Democratic fundraiser Harvey Weinstein, even though Murphy met with Weinstein and actor Robert De Niro two months ago. 'I have not received any contributions from Harvey Weinstein, and I call on all Democratic groups to immediately return any contributions they've received from him,' Murphy said in a statement. Murphy released the statement in response to allegations from the campaign of his Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Guadagno, attacking Murphy for meeting with Weinstein in August and for "partnering" with him in the past to raise money for former President Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee." Read the report

-On Friday, NBC News reported that Murphy was planning to host a benefit with Weinstein this month. A person involved in the event told NBC: 'There will be one less co-host. Read the report

-Jim McQueeny, the Democratic consultant and TV host who served as Frank Lautenberg's chief of staff, is joining Phil Murphy's campaign as "senior strategic advisor," I'm told.

I'M 12 YEARS OLD AGAIN - I need to find out how this happened. Apparently a cable provider in Sussex County listed the debate this way on its guide: "Gov. James Florio (D) squares off against Christine Todd Whitman (R)." Or maybe it's correct and the last 24 years have been a dream? I guess I still go to Poughkeepsie Middle School, where our slogan is "You just can't hide that PMS pride!" (Seriously). Last weekend I saw Jurassic Park in the theater for the fourth time.

-"Phil Murphy's off to a promising start, but he can't keep his promises | Mulshine" Read the report

-"25 revealing things you may not know about N.J. governor candidates Murphy and Guadagno" Read the report

-"So... What about this? Changing the Way we Debate" Read the report

-"Lawmaker who called his opponent the b-word now must debate her face to face" Read the report


IMMIGRATION - "Fearing deportation, Indonesian couple takes sanctuary in New Jersey church," by The Record's Hannan Adely: "Arthur Jemmy got a letter last week telling him to report to immigration authorities Tuesday morning, but as an undocumented immigrant, he feared he'd be jailed or deported if he showed up. In a decision they described as agonizing, Jemmy and his wife Silfia Tobing, natives of Indonesia, chose instead to take sanctuary at the Reformed Church of Highland Park. They moved there Tuesday morning, with the church offering them a place to live and to avoid federal authorities, who are barred from taking action in houses of worship in most case. 'We are really scared to go report,' said Jemmy, who is 40 and lived with his wife in Edison. 'Suddenly we are going to be given a [monitoring ankle] bracelet or they just handcuff you and put you in detention. The next day they send you back to the county and you don't know what you are going to do there.'" Read the report

MAKE AMERICA SPRY AGAIN - "Worst-kept secret in D.C.? Booker says peers are 'very worried' about Trump," by NJ Advance Media's Jonathan D. Salant: "U.S. Sen. Cory Booker said lawmakers of both parties are 'very worried' about President Donald Trump's performance in office. Speaking on NBC's 'Late Night' Monday evening, Booker supported Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker's recent tweet about the White House becoming 'an adult day care center' and his comments to the New York Times about Trump putting the country 'on the path to World War III.' ' This isn't new,' said Booker, D-N.J. 'This is one of the worst-kept secrets in Washington that Republicans and Democrats are very worried about the person who's sitting in the White House.'" Read the report

BROWN OUT - "LD2 Dems torment Brown and company for 'ducking debate'," by InsiderNJ: "Democrats in LD2 tonight charged their Republican opponents with bailing on a debate at the Civic Association of Atlantic City. Assemblyman Chris Brown (R-2) and his running mates Brenda Taube and Vince Sera confirmed their attendance and barely gave notice for pulling the plug. 'Despite this debate being scheduled for a month, Brown and his Republican running mates have cut and run,"' said Colston Reid, campaign manager for the Bell, Mazzeo, Armato team" Read the report

-"Is LD39 Prieto's Waterloo?" Read the report

-"Christie intends to have 'a lot of conversations' with next governor" Read the report


AT A SCHOOL DISTRICT YOU PROBABLY DIDN'T KNOW EXISTED - "South Bergen Jointure Commission super resigns after state investigation," by The AP: "One of New Jersey's highest paid school superintendents is resigning after the state found she transferred her daughter to another office without board approval and covered security cameras to conceal her daughter's whereabouts. South Bergen Jointure Commission Superintendent Dawn Fidanza submitted her resignation, effective Dec. 31. She earns a base salary of $236,735. The South Bergen Jointure Commission provides services to a number of local school districts. The jointure provides things such as special education classes and busing, professional development, and curriculum coordination and development to districts such as Moonachie, Carlstadt, Little Ferry, Lodi and South Hackensack." Read the report

MIDDLESEX COUNTY - "In Carteret, indicted cop accounted for fifth of arrests involving force," by NJ Advance Media's Craig McCarthy: "The borough police officer charged with assaulting a teenager is responsible for more than one-fifth of all arrests involving force recorded by the department over a 23-month period, an NJ Advance Media analysis has found. From the time Joseph Reiman was hired in July 2015, the 50-person department logged 115 incidents in which an officer used force, such as a punch, baton or weapon against a suspect, according to documents obtained under the state Open Public Records Act. Reiman, 31, the brother of longtime Mayor Daniel Reiman, accounted for 24 of the incidents, more than twice as many as any other officer. Officer John Kelly had 11 and Officer Antonio Dominguez had nine, records show." Read the report

MORRIS COUNTY - "Parsippany mayor accused of 'hijacking' newsletter for campaign," by The Daily Record's William Westhoven : "The Morris County Democratic Committee filed a formal complaint on Tuesday with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, alleging incumbent Mayor James Barberio violated state election laws with the recent mailing of a long-dormant township newsletter they say is actually a Barberio campaign mailer paid for by resident taxpayers. The complaint, filed by committee Chairman Chip Robinson also alleges the township Facebook page, 'maintained by township employees at taxpayer expense, appears to have been hijacked by Mr. Barberio's campaign organization.' Democrat Michael Soriano, who is challenging two-term incumbent Republican Barberio in the general election, said he has filed an Open Public Records Act request "to determine the exact amount of taxpayer dollars spent to prepare, print and mail this publicly-funded campaign material.'" Read the report

R.I.P. - "James McLaughlin, funeral home owner, ex-Jersey City councilman, 80" Read the report

WHAT THE LEFRAK? - "Jersey City cops living in affordable housing in Newport, sources say," by The Jersey Journal's Terrence T. McDonald: "Two Jersey City police officers are sharing an apartment in the city's Newport section that was set aside as affordable housing for people making less than the cops earn, sources with knowledge of the matter told The Jersey Journal. The two officers -- Joseph Connors Jr. and Francesca Zappella -- are rookies earning $37,000 a year each, or $74,000 total. The apartment, on River Drive South in the 22-story Waterside Square South tower, is reserved for households with income less than $68,800. A Newport spokesperson told The Jersey Journal the company intends to remove the apartment's occupant and find tenants who meet the income requirements." Read the report

-"Ex-NJ mayor stole $5K from scholarship fund for gambling fun, prosecutor says," by NJ101.5's Adam Hochron: Read the report

-"Atlantic County Sheriff candidates debate qualifications" Read the report

-"Jared Kushner's family buys beachfront Jersey Shore motel" Read the report

-"Ramapough tepee trial enters second day" Read the report


NOW SAMSON CAN INFLUENCE IT FROM THE COMFORT OF HIS SC VACATION HOME/PRISON "Pinelands Commission starts live streaming its meetings from deep in forest," by The Press of Atlantic City's Michelle Brunetti Post: "PEMBERTON TOWNSHIP _ The New Jersey Pinelands Commission has begun live-streaming its monthly meetings from its headquarters here, deep in the heart of the 1.1 million acre reserve. Now people can see what the commission is up to without making a drive of at least an hour for most New Jersey residents. And recordings of the meetings are available online." Read the report

EXHIBITIONIST'S DREAM! - "Famed Westfield 'Watcher' house back on market once again," by NJ Advance Media's Justin Zaremba: "The infamous Westfield "Watcher" house, which recently topped a list for the creepiest urban legend in New Jersey, is once again up for sale. The six-bedroom, 3.5 bath home located on Boulevard was listed for sale on Monday on both Realtor.com and Zillow for $1,125,000. The owners of the home, Derek and Maria Broaddus, bought the property for $1,355,657 in June 2014, but have said they'd couldn't move in because they received the first of four letters from the 'Watcher' three days after the purchase." Read the report

AND THE CHIP ON SOUTH JERSEY'S SHOULDER GETS A TINY BIT SMALLER - "The best sandwich in every state," by The Daily Meal: "New Jersey: White House Subs, Atlantic City: Italian. No trip to Atlantic City is complete without a visit to White House Sub Shop, now sadly down to just one location (the original) on Arctic Avenue, because the boardwalk location shut down along with the rest of Trump Taj Mahal in October. But that's OK; it's been going strong since 1946, and it's still worth the pilgrimage. When you go, there's only one sandwich you need to order: the Italian." Read the report

-"Teachers Village in Newark aims to be game-changer for education" Read the report

-"N.J.-based Honeywell to spin off businesses worth $7B" Read the report

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** A message from Pre-K Our Way: New Jersey has one of the best public preschool programs in the country. Since 2008, it has been in only 35 school districts. This year, New Jersey's legislative leaders supported the first funding for pre-k expansion in nearly a decade - for only a few thousand more children. 50,000 3- and 3-year-olds are still waiting. That's not right!

Expanding New Jersey's pre-k is a bipartisan priority for parents and communities. Business, health care, law enforcement and media leaders know that NJ's pre-k supports working parents, encourages a child's future health, delivers educational achievement - and promotes successful lives. Make pre-k expansion a priority for our next governor! Let the candidates for governor know that you support pre-k expansion.

Here's what you can do:

CONTACT THE CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR - Email a candidate - or candidates, at https://prekourway.org/contact-2018-gov-candidates/

VISIT OUR WEBSITE OR CONTACT US - For more information, email us at info@prekourway.org, or call us at 609-246-0034 ext 2. Visit prekourway.org. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. **

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