12/05/2017 07:15 AM EDT

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

Have you heard of Michael Starr Hopkins?

Hopkins is exploring a run against U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, who just three weeks ago saw the corruption case against him declared a mistrial. He lives in Jersey City, according to the paperwork he filed with the FEC.

In an op-ed for The Hill, Starr Hopkins wrote that he wants to give New Jersey voters "the chance to vote for someone who hasn't been tainted by the culture of corruption in Trenton and Washington, someone who doesn't owe any favors to the political establishment or powerful interests." (Announcing your intentions to run for a New Jersey office in a DC publication seems odd to me, but who am I to judge?)

What's clear is that the DC-bred Hopkins doesn't have a political background in New Jersey. And while he has an impressive family history (his grandfather was a White House butler from Kennedy through Clinton), he might be in for a dose of cold reality in New Jersey.

The senator already has the Democratic machine locked up in North and South Jersey. We'll see in the coming months if Starr Hopkins appreciates just how much that means in New Jersey. That could change if the feds choose to try Menendez again. But if they do, there will be plenty of other people interested in running for his seat.

WHERE'S CHRISTIE? At the the Spirit of Daytop New Jersey Gala in Somerset at 6 pm

WHERE'S MURPHY? No public schedule

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Willingboro teacher Rocco Riccio, former Camden Co GOP exec direct Jeff Booker, former Star-Ledger reporter Jessica Calefati, former Poughkeepsie High School Swiss exchange student Remy Foong

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We are leading the New Jersey market in content consumption, data analytics and consultative marketing solutions" - Steve Alessi, the new president of NJ Advance Media


BILL BRADLEY LEGACY - "Justices could strike down federal law limiting sports betting," by POLITICO's Josh Gerstein: " New Jersey's decade-long drive to legalize sports betting seems positioned to score a win at the Supreme Court, judging by the comments of justices at arguments Monday that were closely watched by sports leagues and the multibillion-dollar gambling industry. A majority of the court appeared receptive to the state's claims that a 1992 law passed by Congress at the urging of then-Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) was unconstitutional because of how it interferes with the ability of states to pass legislation in the area. Justice Stephen Breyer, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton, joined with most of the court's Republican appointees in expressing concern that the way Congress structured the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act violated the Constitution's principle of federalism, which reserves to the states most powers unless Congress clearly steps in to regulate an area. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan and is a frequent swing vote on the court, said: 'This blurs political accountability. The citizen doesn't know: Is this coming from the federal government, is this coming from the state government? That's precisely what federalism is designed to prevent.'" Read the report

I GET IT. IT'S A FAT JOKE. DO YOU GET IT? - "'Fitness' medal hung from Christie's portrait drew governor's wrath," by POLITICO's Ryan Hutchins: " The executive director of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, an anti-corruption agency that could be eliminated under a bill being considered in the New Jersey Legislature, once angered Gov. Chris Christie with a crude prank that appeared to mock of the governor's weight. One day in 2012, Walter Arsenault decided to dangle a New Jersey Council on Physical Fitness medal around a portrait of the Republican governor that hung in the agency's offices. An image of the prank emerged Monday in a tweet from David Wildstein, the admitted mastermind of the George Washington Bridge scandal and a former Christie ally at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. In his tweet, Wildstein said the relationship between Arsenault's staff and the governor's office "was toxic" at the time the photo was taken. He said in a brief phone interview that someone at the agency had sent him the photo and that he forwarded it on the governor's office. Christie's people responded in kind." Read the report

UNLIKE WHEN THEY SAID IT ABOUT THE OTHER INCREASES, THEY MEAN IT THIS TIME - "NJBIA members say $15 minimum wage could lead to job cuts, higher prices," by POLITICO's Katherine Landergan: " The New Jersey Business & Industry Association released new data Monday that warns of job losses and rising prices if state lawmakers raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. According to the association's annual survey, nearly two-thirds of NJBIA members say raising the minimum wage would hurt businesses. Of those members who expressed concern, 30 percent said they would raise prices, 29 percent said they would cut staff, 27 percent said they would reduce hours, and 11 percent said they would increase automation. 'This discussion shouldn't be about a $15 minimum wage,' said Michele Siekerka, NJBIA president and CEO. 'It should be a comprehensive discussion about lifting the wages of a low-wage earner.' The new data comes as Democratic leaders in both chambers of the state Legislature and Gov.-elect Phil Murphy, also a Democrat, have committed to raising the wage, but acknowledge the details will need to be hammered out in negotiations." Read the report

GOTTA GET 'EM IN - "Christie nominates Bramnick's daughter-in-law, wife of aide for judgeships", by POLITICO's Ryan Hutchins: "Gov. Chris Christie said Monday he had nominated 20 people for state judgeships, including the daughter-in-law of Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick and the wife of a top aide in the governor's office. Christie tapped Anne Marie Bramnick as a Superior Court judge. She is a former assistant prosecutor in Union County and is now a criminal attorney at the assemblyman's Westfield law firm, Bramnick, Rodriguez, Grabas, Arnold and Mangan. She is also the daughter of Republican fundraiser and 2008 U.S. Senate candidate Anne Estabrook. Christie also nominated Joan Bedrin Murray of Denville as a judge on the tax court. Currently a state administrative law judge, Murray is the wife of Brian Murray, Christie's press secretary and a former reporter at The Star-Ledger." Read the report

WATCH OUT, RADIOACTIVE MAN! - "A lengthy hearing, but no bill, on proposed nuclear subsidy," by POLITICO's Danielle Muoio: " Without even a bill to debate, a proposed nuclear subsidy drew a multitude of comments during a marathon three-hour joint legislative hearing on Monday. The state Senate Environment and Energy Committee and the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee met to discuss whether subsidies are necessary to prevent the premature retirement of the state's nuclear power plants. PSEG, which owns much of the state's nuclear generation, has argued for years that the plants will soon be unprofitable and will have to close without some form of subsidy. The notion has drawn recrimination from both environmentalists and the business community, who have accused the utility giant of trying to pad its bottom line at the expense of utility customers who will foot the bill. Senate Environment and Energy Chairman Bob Smith declined to say when a bill would be forthcoming, though one is reportedly in the works. He said if there is a bill, it's possible it could be passed during the Legislature's lame-duck session. "I'm not a national Republican. I actually believe that legislators should actually see a bill and evaluate it," Smith told reporters after the hearing." Read the report

-"The push for pay equity legislation in New Jersey" Read the report

-"What 2 ex-N.J. governors say about Trump's tax reform, Murphy's agenda; sexual harassment scandals" Read the interview

-"N.J. Senate to consider campus sexual assault bills that reinstate Obama-era protections" Read the report

-"How Sen. Tom Kean Jr. can help regroup N.J.'s battered GOP | Opinion" Read the column

-"Lots of yelling, but no arrests as N.J. bear hunt resumes" Read the report

-"NJSPCA to lawmakers: 'We are not a broken agency'" Read the report


NOT FREE-TO-VOTE-HOW-HE-WANTS-LINGHUYSEN - "Ryan weighed stripping Frelinghuysen of chairmanship," by POLITICO's Rachel Bade and John Bresnahan: "Speaker Paul Ryan and his leadership team discussed replacing House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen after he bucked the party and voted against the GOP tax bill, multiple sources told POLITICO. Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) considered calling up the GOP steering committee charged with selecting chairmen to force a roll call on whether Frelinghuysen should maintain his position. Scalise, three sources said, pushed hard for the move and was livid that the New Jersey Republican opposed the legislation that leaders believe is vital to maintaining their majority ... News about the talks comes after Ryan last week pulled out of a fundraiser for Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York, another centrist Republican who voted against the tax bill. Both Zeldin and Frelinghuysen share concerns about what repealing the state and local tax deduction would mean for their high-tax districts, where constituents use that benefit to lower their federal tax bill. But Republican lawmakers are even more furious about Frelinghuysen, who's one of the most powerful chairmen in the conference. Chairmen are expected to support GOP leaders on tough votes or major pieces of legislation. And Frelinghuysen, who hails from a more moderate-minded swing district, was not given a green light to vote against the tax bill." Read the report

-"Blue state governors promise to fight federal tax overhaul," by POLITICO's Jimmy Vielkind: "Three Democratic governors pledged Monday to do everything they can to stop the emerging federal tax overhaul - even sue. During a joint conference call with reporters, California Gov. Jerry Brown, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Gov.-elect Phil Murphy of New Jersey denounced the bill heading toward a congressional conference committee as dangerous,' 'fraudulent,' 'nefarious,' "a scam" and "trickle down on steroids." "It's not over yet. We may be in the ninth inning - each of our states has Republican members of the House, and I would say this is beyond Republican or Democrat," Murphy said. "It's a clear question: Are you representing your constituents ... or are you in with President [Donald] Trump and this wrong-headed leadership in Congress?" Read the repor

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE PRIVATE JET TAX BREAK, SENATOR? - "Menendez: After GOP rushed its rotten tax bill, it's up to you to stop it," by Sen. Robert Menendez for The Star-Ledger: "The House and Senate versions of the bill will now be merged, as early as this week, before a final vote sends it to President Trump for signature. It is now up to the American people -- especially in states whacked the hardest by this con-job, like New Jersey -- to make our voices heard and stop this process. The Republican majority in Congress refuses to accept the reality that, despite borrowing a trillion dollars from China, it's still impossible to permanently slash corporate tax rates from 35 to 20 percent without hiking taxes on millions of working Americans. It's simple math." Read the op-ed

-"New Jersey congressmen lash out at GOP tax bills as a 'war on higher education": Read the report.

FACT CHECK - "The GOP's $10,000 cap on property tax deductions and how it affects one (MacArthur's) congressional district," by The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler: "MacArthur said the $10,000 cap would cover "nearly every taxpayer" in his district. It turns out that means 93 percent, which leaves out 24,000. So, from the start, 16 percent of the people who itemize are not covered, according to MacArthur's own math. But even that accounting ignores the interaction of the property tax provision with other parts of the tax bill, so even people who would benefit from the cap still might find themselves with an increase in taxes. MacArthur appears to have worked diligently to tilt the bill so that it would benefit his constituents, but he oversells his achievement. He earns two Pinocchios." Read the report

-MacArthur: Murphy being hypocritical on $10K property tax cap, by POLITICO's Katie Jennings: Read the report here.

-New Jersey congressmen lash out at GOP tax bills as a 'war on higher education', by POLITICO's Linh Tat: Read the report

THIS MUST HAVE BEEN AWKWARD: "Chris Christie and Ray Lesniak together after sports betting oral argument at Supreme Court" See the photo here.

FLASHBACK, ONE YEAR AGO - "Christie calls Democratic state senator 'crazy' and 'not with it'" Read the report


LARRY, MOE STILL PRETENDING THEY DON'T KNOW HIM - "Curley can return to Monmouth County buildings, still faces censure vote," by The Asbury Park Press' Suzanne Cervenka: "Monmouth County Freeholder John Curley had access to county buildings restored Monday but will still face a potential censure vote from his colleagues, possibly as soon as this week. But a lengthy report detailing a five-month sexual harassment investigation will remain sealed to the public, a federal court judge ordered. Attorneys for Curley and Monmouth County spent hours negotiating the agreement Monday after Curley filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the county, his fellow freeholders and the county's top staff. Curley, Monmouth County Counsel Michael Fitzgerald and County Administrator Teri O'Connor also attended the hearing but did not speak during the proceedings. Curley claimed in the lawsuit the county violated his due process and First Amendment rights in the way it proceeded with a sexual harassment investigation. It stemmed from an allegation that he made an 'off-color' comment at a parade this spring. His attorney, Angelo Genova, has called the investigation a "hatchet job" initiated as political retribution against Curley, a Republican who has long been known for his independent streak and bucking his party when he sees fit. Curley is up for re-election in 2018." Read the report

A BREAK IN THE BLUE WALL - "Cop makes plea deal, will testify against fellow police officers at trial," by The Jersey Journal's Terrence T. McDonald: "A Jersey City police officer charged in a 100-count indictment with three fellow officers has agreed to testify for the state against his co-defendants, who are charged with offenses related to falsifying time sheets. In court today, defense attorney Jeff Garrigan said Officer Michael Maietti has given a 151-page statement to prosecutors and is expected to testify for the state in the trial of Lt. Kelly Chesler and Police Officer Michael O'Neill and retired Capt. Joseph Ascolese." Read the report

10-YEAR ABATEMENT FOR 5-DOLLAR FOOTLONG - "Sen. Torricelli seeks 10-year tax abatement from Trenton for property that houses Subway," by The Trentonian's David Foster: "Former U.S. Sen. Bob Torricelli is asking Trenton to cut him a break on taxes for one of his properties in the capital city, which currently boasts a major tenant. But one elected city official spoke out on Monday about giving Torricelli any tax abatement for his property at 101 S. Warren St. 'I'm really totally against these tax abatements,' South Ward Councilman George Muschal said." Read the report

NOBODY WOULD WANT TO RUIN LINDEN'S QUAINT CHARM - "Town worried about legalizing weed launches group to study marijuana's effects," by NJ Advance Media's Taylor Tiamoyo Harris: "Governor-elect Phil Murphy has vowed to legalize marijuana in New Jersey during his first 100 days in office, but members of Linden's city council are concerned about how the bill is going to impact them and surrounding municipalities. 'There are a lot of questions that need to be asked. Once you open up this box it's a lot harder to retract it,' said Linden councilman Peter Brown. 'No one can say how it's going to locally impact Linden.' 'A lot of the research that's been done, they look at how much money it's going to bring in from the state and not the affect it's going to have locally,' he said. Brown is now heading Linden's ad hoc committee, which includes Councilmen Ralph Strano and Armando Medina." Read the report

NEW TINTON FALLS MAYOR WAS A KID WHEN TINTIN CAME OUT - "93-year-old mayor-elect challenges status quo," by NJ Advance Media's Alex Napoleillo: "A day after 93-year-old Vito Perillo won the mayoral election in Tinton Falls, he proclaimed he would bring greater transparency and cut costs in the Monmouth County borough of 19,000 residents. Perillo, a World War II veteran who ousted well-known incumbent Mayor Gerald Turning in a stunning upset, outlined his first challenge to carry out his promise in a lengthy 700-word statement Saturday. The Borough Council is ignoring his requests to keep the status of the highest-ranking employee in town, the borough administrator, as an interim so he can assess the current situation after he is sworn in, Perillo said." Read the report

-"Lawsuit: Lesbian sheriff's officer harassed, called 'f***in' b****' by superior" Read the report

-"Remembering a leader and the multiracial South Jersey coalition he helped to build" Read the report

-"'A rare glimpse' at Shore: Ocean City without part of its boardwalk" Read the report


DO IT IN NJ AND WE CAN TAX CASH CAB WINNING IN LIEU OF MILLIONAIRES TAX - "'Cash Cab' is back: How N.J.'s Ben Bailey became master of mobile trivia," by NJ Advance Media's Amy Kuperinsky: "A 'Cash Cab' revival premieres with back-to-back episodes at 10 p.m. Monday, Dec. 4, promising a new celebrity-infused format and the return of Bailey's yellow van. The stand-up comedian-turned-game show host, who grew up in Chatham (borough) and lives in Morristown, acknowledges the current trendiness of car-set programming. 'I like to think that I played some part in that,' Bailey, 47, tells NJ Advance Media. 'There's something that works with this voyeuristic aspect. It makes you feel like it can happen to you.'" Read the report

WAR ON CHRISTMAS - "Squirrel! Cams catch 'vandal' who knocked out Sea Girt's Christmas lights," by NJ 101.5's Dan Alexander: "It wasn't holiday mischief makers who tried to darken a Jersey Shore town's Christmas light display. Two days before Sea Girt's lighting of its Christmas display, police thought vandals cut the power but vowed that the display would go on as scheduled Friday. But webcams set up by police to catch the culprits revealed it was a hungry squirrel that chewed through the wires. 'We are happy that no human acted as a grinch in this incident. The squirrel was charged with criminal mischief and released on bail," police wrote on their Facebook page.'" Read the report

SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS - "President of Ramapo College strikes pedestrian with his car," by The Record's Keldy Ortiz: "The president of Ramapo College struck a student with his car outside the college campus in Mahwah on Friday, police said. The student sustained non-fatal injuries. Dr. Peter Mercer was approaching the intersection of Magnolia Road and Ramapo Valley Road at 3:59 p.m. when he struck 20-year-old Kevin Murphy, who was on the crosswalk several feet from the side of the roadway, according to a copy of the police report. Mercer was in a school-issued 2016 Audi Q5. According to the police report, Murphy admitted to wearing earbuds while crossing and told police he was 'not looking at the lights' and didn't hear anything. Mercer told police the traffic light was green, but the sun glare was blinding and didn't see Murphy crossing until he hit him." Read the report

JEH (NOT J.J.) JOHNSON - I mentioned to you yesterday that former Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson hosted an hour on WBGO Saturday. You can listen to the hour here

FOR MORE political and policy news from New Jersey, check out Politico New Jersey's home page: http://politi.co/1JiYTDg

SUBSCRIBE to the Playbook family: POLITICO Playbook: http://politi.co/1phAeAC ... New York Playbook: http://politi.co/1ON8bqW ... Florida Playbook: http://politi.co/1JDm23W ... New Jersey Playbook: http://politi.co/1HLKltF ... Massachusetts Playbook: http://politi.co/1Nhtq5v ... Illinois Playbook: http://politi.co/1N7u5sb ... California Playbook: http://politi.co/1N8zdJU and our friends at POLITICO Brussels Playbook: http://politi.co/1FZeLcw ... All our policy and political tipsheets http://politi.co/1M75UbX

To view online:

To change your alert settings, please go to https://secure.politico.com/settings

This email was sent to contact@emailingnewsletter.com by: POLITICO, LLC 1000 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA, 22209, USA

Please click here and follow the steps to unsubscribe.