The primaries: Electability and purity


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Mar 31, 2023

The primaries: Electability and purity

By MATT FRIEDMAN 06/05/2023 06:55 AM EDT Presented by AARP Good Monday morning!


06/05/2023 06:55 AM EDT

Presented by AARP

Good Monday morning!

Early in-person voting is over, and now there are less than 24 hours left to go before polls open for the primary.

What will turnout look like? The last election that had all state Senate and Assembly seats at the top of the ballot was in 2011, and turnout for that one was 7 percent. Of course, that was before early in-person voting and the further ease of access to mail-in ballots, so hopefully it will be a bit better. Maybe.

Virtually every competitive contest is among Republicans this year. On thing I find interesting is that in the two South Jersey districts that will be competitive in November, much of the Republican campaigns have focused on whether some candidates have staked out positions too extreme for the general election, when the well-funded South Jersey Democrats will air commercials and send flyers featuring certain candidates’ ill-considered social media posts about women closing their legs, etc. In the two competitive North Jersey primaries, in districts that have no chance of flipping to Democrats in November, it's just races to the right.

There is one Democratic primary that you would be competitive. State Sens. Dick Codey and Nia Gill, longtime veterans and former allies who both have independent streaks, are facing off now that they’ve been thrown into the same district. But we haven't heard much from that race — especially from Codey, who hasn't cast a vote in Trenton since March and is dealing with some "very minor" health issues.

Check out our primer on Tuesday's primary here.

TIPS? FEEDBACK? Email me at [email protected]

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I don't think they have him yet … "It's obviously a serious investigation, but when you have subpoenas all over the place, it's not a tight and narrow case. It looks like they’re fishing." — Attorney Joe Hayden on the Menendez investigation

HAPPY BIRTHDAY — Alisa Cooper, Jeremy Farrell, Kevin Peng, Shereef Elnahal, Dan Harris. Missed Saturday: Molly Greenstein

WHERE’S MURPHY? — At the Two Rivers Water Reclamation Authority in Monmouth Beach for an announcement

A message from AARP:

Family caregivers help their aging parents and other loved ones live in their homes, where they want to be—and out of costly taxpayer-funded nursing homes. They save New Jersey billions of dollars annually. But family caregivers are struggling to make it work. The Caregiver's Assistance Act would provide a modest tax credit to family caregivers—financial relief that they’ve earned. Tell your lawmakers: Pass the Caregiver's Assistance Act (A1802/S2021) now.

TAKE A LOOK. IT’S NOT IN A BOOK. THEY’VE BANNED THE RAINBOW — "NY and NJ governors ask textbook publishers not to censor school material," by Gothamist's Karen Yi: "New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and eight of their gubernatorial colleagues are urging publishers not to censor their textbooks. The governors, all Democrats, signed a letter sent to publishers such as Pearson, McGraw Hill and Scholastic last month, raising concerns the companies might ‘be tempted to water down critical information to appeal to the lowest common denominator.’ They urged publishers to "hold the line for our democracy" and not censor any material. The letter comes as several Republican-led states have passed laws restricting texts on race, gender and history in schools. That's putting pressure on some publishers to alter their texts, including one that initially softened and then removed references to race in the story of Rosa Parks to get approval in Florida, the New York Times reported."

—Snowflack: "Murphy leaps into the book wars"

HOW DOES IT FEEL? — "DeAngelo and the priorities of labor and loyalty," by InsiderNJ's Max Pizarro: "Powerful people in his own party wanted Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-14) to oppose Senator Linda Greenstein (D-14), a fellow Democrat and his running mate since 2007. DeAngelo refused. He had a political relationship with Greenstein, a friendship, and – significantly – the security of Greenstein's positions on issues critical to Building Trades Labor. In addition, and maybe most importantly for this veteran lawmaker and President and IBEW Assistant Business Manager, DeAngelo had given Greenstein his word. ‘I had a conversation with Linda some time ago and I said, ‘When and if you plan on going, please let me know.’ Until then, he planned to back her. ‘She has a hundred percent voting record on labor,’ DeAngelo said. ‘If we were to turn our back on her, what does that say about us? The same with Brian Hughes.’"

ELECTION NON-ENFORCEMENT COMMISSION — "Murphy has one month left to pick four new ELEC commissioners," by New Jersey Globe's Joey Fox: "Two months ago, Gov. Phil Murphy signed the Elections Transparency Act, a wide-ranging bill that gave him a 90-day period to unilaterally select four new commissioners on the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC). With just 29 days left in that period, though, Murphy still has yet to name a single commissioner. Murphy administration officials have said that appointments will be arriving soon, but it's not clear exactly when. Asked directly today what his timeframe is, Murphy declined to say. "It's in process," he said. "No news to make today. We’re actively vetting and looking at folks, and my guess is, sooner than later we’ll have news. … We’re confident we’re going to get a really good group of bipartisan commissioners. … The lack of commissioners has meant that for the last two months, ELEC has been unable to hold any meetings or issue any enforcement decisions."

IT WAS NOT A REVERSAL, JUST A CHANGE IN DIRECTION FROM BACKWARDS TO FORWARDS — CRC Chair: Curaleaf license renewal was not a ‘reversal’, by POLITICO's Daniel Han: The Cannabis Regulatory Commission did not reverse itself when it renewed Curaleaf's licenses to sell recreational cannabis in New Jersey last April, CRC Chair Dianna Houenou said in an interview. … It is still "under review" whether those conditions have been met, Houenou said. But she rejected characterizing the process as a "reversal." "I would not consider it a reversal. I would consider it a very intentional decision by the commission's board to make it known that we are willing to enforce our regulations and our rules. And we are willing to do what is necessary to hold businesses accountable to make sure that we’re keeping New Jerseyans safe." Houenou said the decision to renew Curaleaf's licenses was because "Curaleaf came to the table and offered to work with the [CRC] to address our concerns."

—R.I.P. "Jacqueline Thompson, wife of senator, dies at 91"

—"Watch for big geographic divides in [this] week's GOP primaries"

—"NJ Sandy, Ida victims, still reeling from storms, demand help from legislators"

—"What the commissioner says about Liberty State Park: Chat Box"

—"Nurses are drowning: State must mandate enforceable staffing ratios | Opinion"

—"Where's your money? $1.8B issued, but thousands still waiting for NJ property tax rebate"

—"Acrimony grips GOP primary in Morris County"

A message from AARP:

INVESTIGATION DETERMINES MENENDEZ IS ACTUALLY A REPUBLICAN — "Feds’ focus on Menendez remains a mystery. Will there be a political price to pay?" by NJ Advance Media's Ted Sherman: "Exactly what the feds are investigating remains a mystery, even to many of the lawyers representing those who have already been served with the wide-ranging subpoenas all seemingly related to the probe. One attorney, who asked not to be identified because the matter remains under investigation, made reference to the old parable of a group of blind men who had never come across an elephant, and describe it after each of them touch a different part of its body — its trunk, its tail and its legs — describing a creature that looked nothing like an elephant. I only know what my part of the elephant looks like," the lawyer remarked. The U.S. Attorney's office has repeatedly declined comment. But like the elephant, there seem to be many disparate parts of the investigation which seem on the surface to have no link to each other, other than the possible involvement of Menendez. … Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the senator's office, which has acknowledged the ongoing investigations, criticized the continuing stories and the assumptions that it all leads to Menendez. ‘The recent stories that aired rely entirely on unnamed sources and create a suggestion of impropriety without any facts,’ said Jennifer Morrill in a statement."

—"Navy SEAL training commander speaks out after scathing report on ‘shattering’ candidate death"

CARTOON BREAK — "Why is Christie running?" by Drew Sheneman

A message from AARP:

New Jersey family caregivers save the state—and taxpayers—over $17 billion annually providing care for their spouses, aging parents, or other loved ones. Yet, caregivers pay out of their own pockets—on average spending 26% of their income. With inflation making everything more expensive, too many families are struggling to help keep their loved ones at home.

AARP is fighting to bring some financial relief to family caregivers, who need and deserve support. The Caregiver's Assistance Act (A1802/S2021) would provide a modest tax credit for families who take on caregiving expenses. It's crucial financial relief that family caregivers have earned. Tell Governor Murphy and your state lawmakers: Pass the Caregiver's Assistance Act (A1802/S2021) to provide family caregivers financial relief now.

EGG WHITES HARBOR TOWNSHIP — "Are South Jersey police departments as diverse as their communities?" by The Press of Atlantic City: "Based on police data collected by The Press, local figures show Atlantic City has one of the area's most diverse police forces, different from its counterparts on the mainland. Black and Latino officers combined represent about 38% of the resort's force. Even that level of diversity falls short of matching the makeup of Atlantic City's community, where roughly 60% of its residents are Black or Hispanic. … Other nearby towns’ police departments aren't as diverse. Hamilton Township, Galloway Township, Ocean City and Egg Harbor Township are overwhelmingly made of white officers. Neither Galloway nor Hamilton township has a ranked officer of color, according to the data. Other nearby towns’ police departments aren't as diverse. Hamilton Township, Galloway Township, Ocean City and Egg Harbor Township are overwhelmingly made of white officers. Neither Galloway nor Hamilton Township has a ranked officer of color, according to the data."

TEENS URGED TO CHECK OUT WHOLESOME FUN OF OCEAN GROVE — "Seaside Heights looks to control rowdy teens, pop-up parties" by The Asbury Park Press’ Jean Mikle: "Crowds of teenagers flocked to Seaside Heights over the Memorial Day weekend, causing a commotion on the boardwalk and neighboring streets, and leading Mayor Anthony Vaz to say, ‘I’ve never seen it like this’ in the 56 years he's lived in town. Rowdy teenagers caused disturbances up and down the boardwalk and in town, angering some business owners and frustrating year-round residents. At least one fight broke out on the boardwalk and teens were seen hanging from a motel balcony and climbing on the roof of another motel. ‘With Ortley Beach and Lavallette having curfews, we were pretty busy,’ said Seaside Heights Police Chief Thomas Boyd. Boyd said the borough was also a bit short-staffed for an unusually warm and sunny Memorial Day weekend, as many of the seasonal officers had not yet started working."

—"As Ocean City eyes Father's Day rollout for new regulations, locals and businesses up in arms over teen activity"

SAVED BY THE BODY CAM — "Body cam footage counters claim that Newark cops handcuffed 8-year-old girl," by NJ Advance Media's Steve Strunsky: "Despite a mother's initial assertion that Newark police handcuffed her 8-year-old daughter during an April 27 search of their apartment, unedited body camera footage released by the city does not show that happening. None of the 10 clips provided to NJ Advance Media in response to a public records request show the girl in the plastic zip-tie cuffs police used that day. And after viewing the unedited clips for the first time, the girl's mother, Sheila Austin, conceded she may have been mistaken."

DON’T MISS POLITICO’S HEALTH CARE SUMMIT: The Covid-19 pandemic helped spur innovation in health care, from the wide adoption of telemedicine, health apps and online pharmacies to mRNA vaccines. But what will the next health care innovations look like? Join POLITICO on Wednesday June 7 for our Health Care Summit to explore how tech and innovation are transforming care and the challenges ahead for access and delivery in the United States. REGISTER NOW.

WESTWOOD — "Bergen school orders LGBTQ Pride sign removed. Here's how students are pushing back," by The Record's Stephanie Noda: "After the removal of an LGBTQ pride lawn sign at the regional school district's middle school, members of the Westwood and Washington Township community have started a campaign to allow the signs on district grounds. An online petition started by Mackenzie Fox, a high school senior and student representative to the school board, had almost 1,000 signatures as of Thursday afternoon. A pride lawn sign was placed at the Westwood Regional Middle School on May 24 in preparation for Pride Month in June. But it was removed after "pushback," according to the petition, which did not say who objected to the image."

EVEN FULOP’S 2017 GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN? — "Hudson County's new $317M courthouse will be resilient to bombs," by The Jersey Journal's Joshua Rosario: "The new Frank J. Guarini Justice Complex, Hudson County's future home of 24 criminal, family and other courtrooms, will have some hidden features that could protect it and its occupants from a terrorist attack. If a bomb were to go off in the courthouse — named after the former congressman and prolific philanthropist — massive 700-foot-long steel trusses would prevent the building from collapsing."

—"Pleasantville councilwoman to face off against community organizer"

—"Lawsuit: Mantua police officer fired deadly barrage of 13 shots at man who called 911"

—"Cherry Hill schools’ chief talks about moving on after 20 years in district: ‘It's been an honor’"

—"About 10,000 Newark public school students need summer school this year, district says"

—"Englewood employee sues city, supervisor citing discrimination because she's white, Jewish"

GET READY FOR GLOBAL TECH DAY: Join POLITICO Live as we launch our first Global Tech Day alongside London Tech Week on Thursday, June 15. Register now for continuing updates and to be a part of this momentous and program-packed day! From the blockchain, to AI, and autonomous vehicles, technology is changing how power is exercised around the world, so who will write the rules? REGISTER HERE.

AMERICAN DREAM — "Cleaning staff at American Dream Mall were fired for union drive, feds say," by The Record's Daniel Munoz: "Two cleaning staff at the American Dream mall were fired in what the National Labor Relations Board alleges was retaliation for their involvement in organizing a labor union at the Meadowlands entertainment complex. On Thursday, the NLRB filed a federal petition against HSA Cleaning, alleging that these two workers were ‘discharged in retaliation for their efforts to organize on behalf of 32BJ, SEIU,’ a union which represents service workers. In the petition, the NLRB argued that the termination of the two cleaning workers, Luis Varela and Jose Teran, would undermine existing efforts at American Dream to form a union. … ‘These discharges obliterated the union's organizing efforts and sent a clear message to all employees that union support will result in termination,’ the case reads."

STOP IN THE NAME OF THE CLAW — "Claw & Order, Jersey Shore edition," by NJ Advance Media's S.P. Sullivan: "The [Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission] was thrust into the national spotlight earlier this year when it fined an operator $15,500 and issued a 10-year ban from the boardwalk after an investigation found employees at her game stands overinflated basketballs to make it harder to score baskets, duped customers over prizes and ignored repeated violation notices from the state over two years. … Through the state's public records laws, NJ Advance Media obtained and examined five years’ worth of violation notices sent by the Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission to Jersey Shore boardwalk operators, building a never-before-seen database of shenanigans on the shore. Then, a pair of reporters walked the boardwalk beat in Wildwood undercover as easy marks, wearing too much sun screen and a fanny pack, a bucket hat and a 1988 Jimmy Buffett tour T-shirt. We subjected a random sampling of Wildwood games to our highly scientific tests, such as ‘throwing a ball into a basket’ and ‘trying in vain to win a plush Mario.’ Our findings will shock you. For starters, there's not that much cheating on the boardwalk. Or at least not that many operators get caught, especially compared to the sheer number of game stalls dotting beachside resorts from Cape May to Seaside Heights."

—"Carnival ride shut down at Warren County festival after girl is injured, police say"

—"N.J. church erased medical debt for 929 strangers— a new trend for houses of worship"

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