Big Dem names coming to N.J. for MurphyOctober 14, 2021
Presented by the Consumer Action Network
Good Thursday morning!
Jack Ciattarelli isn’t eager to nationalize the gubernatorial race — but even as Democrats face growing troubles on the national front, Gov. Phil Murphy is.
First lady Jill Biden will be in Edison Friday to campaign with Murphy. And next Saturday, former President Barack Obama will be in Newark for a get-out-the-vote rally to mark the first day of New Jersey’s first-ever in-person early voting.
No word yet on whether President Joe Biden, buffeted by the ugly Afghanistan withdrawal and the messy infrastructure negotiations in Washington, will stop by.
Some might read this as a sign — along with George Helmy’s transition from chief of staff to the campaign for its last couple weeks — that Murphy’s people aren’t as confident as they look. But keep in mind that while, yes, Obama came in for Corzine in 2009, he also came in for Murphy in 2017 — and the outcome of that election was never in much doubt.
WHERE’S MURPHY? In New Brunswick for an 11 a.m. groundbreaking ceremony
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "He was not 100 percent honest with us and we'll be dealing with it. He is still telling us it wasn't him." — Middletown Democratic Chair Mike Morris on the party’s mayoral candidate, Nicholas Babcock, after being shown a 2007 mugshot of him in Arizona, where he has a criminal record.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY — Department of Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman, Murphy aide Michael Zhadanovsky
TIPS? FEEDBACK? HATE MAIL? Email me at [email protected]
EDNA MAHAN — “Women’s prison guard charged with sexually assaulting inmate,” by The AP’s Mike Catalini: “A male corrections officer at New Jersey’s long-troubled and only women’s prison has been charged with sexual assault and official misconduct stemming from a September incident with an inmate, the state’s top law enforcement official said Wednesday. Senior corrections officer Tyrell Harris-McLaughlin was charged in a complaint brought by prosecutors for allegedly sexually assaulting an inmate on Sept. 16 at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, according to authorities.”
QUESTIONS RAISED — NJEA’s involvement in gubernatorial debate raises questions, by POLITICO’s Carly Sitrin: When the New Jersey Education Association‘s logo appeared on the screen at the end of Tuesday night’s gubernatorial debate, sharp-eyed New Jerseyans took notice. “Anyone want to explain how the NJEA — which is spending big money in support of Phil Murphy — is also a sponsor of tonight's debate?” conservative blogger Matt Rooney tweeted. The NJEA is among Gov. Phil Murphy’s most powerful political allies. The state‘s largest teachers union has contributed significantly to Murphy’s reelection campaign and has publicly endorsed him — something the state’s Election Law Enforcement Commission explicitly bans debate sponsors from doing … Deb Falk, a spokesperson for NJ PBS, said in an email there is a key difference between “sponsors” for the debate itself and ‘sponsors’ for the broadcast of the debate.
ABORTION — ”State board expands access to abortion in N.J. through regulation changes,” by New Jersey Monitor’s Dana DeFilippo: “The New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners unanimously agreed Wednesday to repeal several restrictions on abortion, effectively expanding access by allowing medical providers other than physicians to terminate pregnancies. The move comes six weeks after Texas lawmakers enacted a controversial abortion ban that drove abortion-rights advocates across the country to rally to preserve women’s right to choose. States nationally have enacted more than 100 abortion restrictions so far this year, the most since abortion became legal in 1973, according to the Guttmacher Institute. In New Jersey, lawmakers are expected to act after they return to work in November on a stalled bill, the Reproductive Freedom Act, that would codify and expand abortion access here.”
THE PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY VOTE — Poll: Murphy holds 25-point lead over Ciattarelli among older voters, by POLITICO’s Matt Friedman: Older New Jersey voters favor Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy over Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli by a wide margin, according to a poll released Wednesday. The FDU Poll, which was sponsored by AARP, found Murphy leading Ciattarelli by 25 percentage points among voters age 50 and over, 56 percent to 31 percent … The FDU results are stronger for Murphy than those in an earlier poll conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute. That poll found 50- to 64-year-olds were Murphy’s weakest age demographic, splitting their vote at 44 percent each for him and Ciattarelli. But voters 65 and older in the Monmouth survey supported Murphy, 53 percent to 37 percent.
— Note: Murphy’s lead in Northwest New Jersey and South Jersey definitely surprised me, as they seem unusually high for any Democrat. I didn’t see anything wrong with the poll questions or methodology. Sometimes polls just get wonky results. But here’s what Cassino said when I asked him: “I was surprised enough by them that I went back and double and triple checked them. My best guess is that COVID is weighing really heavily on older voters, and Murphy is perceived to have done really well on that issue. Given the vaccination rates among older NJ residents, I have to imagine that Ciattarelli's stance on vaccines aren't helping him.”
BREAKING: HAVE YOU HEARD OF THIS ‘UNITED VAN LINES STUDY’? — Opinion: “Stop subsiding mass transit at the expense of drivers,” by NJ Advance Media’s Gregory McGuckin: “According to an updated finance plan, the state is committing to partially funding the tunnel through the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, which operates the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway. Starting Jan. 1, 2022, tolls on both roads will increase 3% annually to provide a reliable funding source for both Turnpike and mass-transit projects, such as the Hudson Tunnel Project. Pre-pandemic, a mere 11% of New Jerseyans used public transportation to get to work. The majority of the state’s railroads are located in Hudson, Bergen, Essex and Union counties. Why should the majority of the state’s residents be forced to pay for a service they don’t use? … Eventually, more New Jerseyans will hit the road and never come back. According to the 2020 national migration study by United Van Lines, New Jersey ranked the top state for outbound moves, again.”
POLL WORKERS — Murphy administration says pay bump increased poll worker recruitment, by POLITICO’s Matt Friedman: The Murphy administration says it has alleviated a potential shortage of poll workers after the governor signed an executive order last week boosting their pay by 50 percent. Alyana Alfaro Post, a spokesperson for Gov. Phil Murphy, said in an email that after the executive order was issued, “there was a significant uptick in the number of people who signed up to be poll workers.” “Over 5,000 poll works signed up last week and an additional 8,500 works signed up over the weekend, for a total of 13,500 applications,” Alfaro Post wrote. “Our estimated need prior to issuing the [executive order] was 10,000.”
— Stile: “Phil Murphy and Jack Ciattarelli in their last debate — here's what I saw”
— “5 telling moments between Murphy, Ciattarelli from their feisty final N.J. governor’s debate”
— State legislative redistricting commission to hold first meeting Friday
— New pro-Ciattarelli group plans to spend $500K, disclosure form shows
— “NJ day cares to expand hours, add weekend service and give bonuses under $700M plan”
— “New MVC agency opens in N.J. Will it help alleviate the crunch to get a new license?”
— “Stockton poll gives Testa the lead in 1st District state Senate race”
— “Activists demand lawmakers act to curb police brutality on ‘Long March for Justice’”
— “28% of vote-by-mail ballots already returned”
— “Murphy promotes early voting in Atlantic City; Ciattarelli to visit Thursday”
OAF KEEPERS — “Hacked records reveal hundreds of oath keepers across New Jersey,” from Gothamist: “Over the last decade, dozens of current and former law enforcement officers, military personnel, and government officials in New Jersey joined a far-right, anti-government militia called the Oath Keepers, according to a WNYC/Gothamist analysis of what appear to be membership rolls obtained by an anonymous hacker … Currently, New Jersey has no state law forbidding law enforcement or other public officials from being involved with the Oath Keepers or other similar organizations … Roughly 20 people in the records matched the names, phone area codes, and address locations of police and corrections officers who were listed as active within the last two years. These included officers in two of the state’s largest and most diverse cities, Jersey City and Paterson, along with a swath of rural and suburban communities … One corrections officer, currently employed by the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office, is listed in the group’s records as having paid for an annual membership in 2014. The same officer was found to be a member of seven extremist and anti-Muslim groups on Facebook, according to a 2019 investigation by the public radio program Reveal.”
MAN WHO SAID HE LEFT DEMS OVER EXTREMISM WON’T TAMP DOWN INSANE ELECTION CONSPIRACY THEORIES — “Republicans rally around possible Trump 2024 bid as they downplay his role on January 6,” by CNN’s Melanie Zanona and Manu Raju: “Even some Republicans in swing districts — like Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey — are embracing Trump's potential return into the political fray. ‘Yes, I would,’ Van Drew, who switched parties and became a Republican in 2019 to defend Trump during his first impeachment proceedings, said when asked if he would back the ex-President if he ran again in 2024. The southern New Jersey congressman, whose district narrowly backed Trump last year, bluntly said that he does not think Trump is responsible for the events of January 6, contending that the former President didn't call for violence."
THE KIMPOSSIBLE DREAM — “We must shine a light on the shadowy dark money groups trying to influence your vote,” by ELEC’s Jeff Brindle: “Recent video advertisements targeting three New Jersey congressmen highlight the danger to democracy and transparency presented by ‘Dark Money’ groups that have penetrated New Jersey’s elections. Three incumbent Democratic congressmen — Andy Kim (3rd District), Frank Pallone (5th District) and Tom Malinowski (7th District) — are targets of the same ad except with each of their images superimposed over it … The ads were created by a shadowy group called A Healthy Future LLC of Stafford, Va. It does not file disclosure reports with either the Federal Election Commission or the Internal Revenue Service … About 25 states require far more disclosure by independent spending committees than New Jersey. Bills are pending in the legislature that should pass constitutional muster while ensuring that voters are better aware of who is calling the shots in elections.”
— “Mullen, Building Trades fine with Oroho as ‘minority’ leader in Senate”
MAPLEHOODY — “Maplewood police open inquiry of hijab incident, as teacher says it was a misunderstanding,” by The Record’s Liam Quinn: “The Maplewood Police Department has opened an inquiry into allegations that a teacher ‘forcibly’ removed the hijab of a second grade student, the South Orange-Maplewood School District announced. The teacher, meanwhile, spoke out, calling the incident a misunderstanding. In a statement sent to The Record and NorthJersey.com through her attorney, Tamar Herman, a teacher at Seth Boyden Elementary School in Maplewood, said the student was wearing a hooded sweatshirt in place of a hijab. ‘Last week, I asked one of my students to raise the hood of her sweatshirt because it was covering her eyes,’ Herman said. ‘With her mask on, too, her whole face was covered. I gently got her attention by brushing up the front of her hood. The moment I realized she was not wearing her usual hijab underneath, she kept the hood on. And the learning went on.’”
HOGAN’S ANTIHEROES — “Bridgegate, ballot woes headline Bergen County clerk debate between Hogan, Kelly,” by The Record’s Katie Sobko: “Sponsored by the Bergen County chapter of the NAACP, the debate pitted incumbent John Hogan against challenger Bridget Anne Kelly. Kelly, a Republican trying to knock out the two-term incumbent, didn’t shy away from the scandal that led to her federal conviction, which was later overturned. She said she was not guilty but rather a scapegoat for those more powerful, including one ‘that even ran for president.’ Hogan didn't let those in attendance forget that Kelly had sent the infamous ‘time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee’ email. ‘I didn't do anything,’ Kelly said. ‘I can assure you, I had no role in closing or realigning the lanes of the bridge.’ Kelly said the email was taken out of context and that she trusted the wrong people. She also said she doesn't think that one episode should ruin or upend anyone's life, before calling herself a committed public servant.”
NOTHING’S FREE IN ‘THE HOLD’ — “Freehold Regional blankets web to promote 'critical' $14 million ballot measure,” by The Asbury Park Press’ Joe Strupp: “After losing two ballot referendums aimed at funding school improvements in the past three years, the Freehold Regional High School District isn’t taking any chances this year. School officials have posted an in-depth web page with facts and figures, shot a promotional video starring Superintendent Charles Sampson to win over voters, and created Twitter and Instagram accounts that constantly feed pro-YES messages to followers about the Nov. 2 vote. ‘The projects proposed in this referendum are critical, urgent infrastructure items that must be done,’ Sampson said via email. ‘There is nothing fancy in this proposal. It is strictly urgent roofing and paving work.’ Sampson also points out that the $14.46 million price tag for the projects, well below the previous failed ballot measure amounts, will be paid in part by state grants if voters approve the plan.”
PASSED OUT NAKED JERRY HEALY WOULD LIKE A WORD ON HOW LOW JC POLITICS CAN GO — “Ward F race heats up as Gilmore says opponent is behind ‘mug-shot’ fliers,” by The Jersey Journal’s Jake Maher: “Jersey City Ward F city council candidate Frank ‘Educational’ Gilmore has come out swinging after campaign fliers with a fake mugshot and details on his criminal record blanketed parked car across the ward Monday night. Gilmore told The Jersey Journal Wednesday the fliers were distributed by people associated with incumbent Councilman Jermaine Robinson’s campaign, saying he has received calls and videos from eyewitnesses that prove his claim. ‘I understand it’s political season, but I think this may be a new low for politics here in Jersey City,’ Gilmore said.”
GARFIELD BLAMES NERMAL — “Garfield Columbus statue vandalized again, mayor speaks out,” by The Record’s Liam Quinn: “The Christopher Columbus statue in Columbus Park near Outwater Lane in Garfield has been vandalized, Mayor Richard Rigoglioso said. The vandalism occurred Monday night, a Garfield UNICO Facebook post said. It has since been cleaned. Rigoglioso said the perpetrators were seen on camera, and he vowed that they would be caught.”
— “Jersey City Ward A and Ward F city council candidates share their vision for next 4 years”
— “Op-Ed: There’s no good reason to elect HCDO Chair Amy DeGise to Jersey City council-at-large”
— “Latino Merchants demand Trenton clerk’s ouster over ‘aggressive’ encounter with VP”
— “Former Sussex Tech athletic director claims retaliation for reporting harassing comment”
— “[Cumberland] county announces 4th jail director this year amid plans to close the facility”
— “Buena Vista Township park to be renamed for late Mayor Chuck Chiarello”
— “Pleasantville school board places superintendent on paid leave, replaces board president”
— “Paterson schools will use COVID relief funds to provide round-the-clock tutoring services”
— “Paterson school lockdown: ‘Just another day in the ‘hood,’ student says”
USE OF FORCE — “Police gunfire killed their dreams. The Jersey Four built new ones, 23 years later,” by The Record’s Jessie Gomez: “In 1998, Rayshawn Brown, Jarmaine Grant, Keshon Moore and Danny Reyes were in their early 20s, at their physical peak and full of ambition. They dreamt of going to a four-year college and playing professional basketball. A trip to North Carolina Central would be the first step in achieving their dreams … They are now fathers, partners, entrepreneurs and brothers — bonded together when a few moments on the New Jersey Turnpike in 1998 changed the direction of their lives … State troopers John Hogan and James Kenna were driving in the left lane and peering at Moore before they slowed down and crossed over to the middle lane, behind the minivan. They flashed their red and blue patrol lights and Moore slowed to a stop. ‘I didn’t look at them, but I felt eyes on me, and I thought whatever, I’m not speeding or anything,’ Moore said. ‘I’m not thinking anything.’ As he leaned over to get his license and registration, the car rolled slowly backward, bumping the front bumper of the police car. Moore, nervous because of the situation, hadn’t realized he mistakenly had put the car in reverse instead of park. Then the bullets started flying.”
— “Knowing who police pull over can help end racial profiling. But few NJ towns track it”