Read Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing: 9/1/2020
Kean Hearing Elevator Music Again
Just about all candidates enjoy making “good” news. And what can be better than the opening of a campaign headquarters?
Normally, such events are designed for crowds of happy supporters primed to tell one and all why their candidate is the man, or woman, for the job. Things may need to be toned down a bit in this era of mask-wearing and social distancing, but the principle is the same.
Republican Tom Kean Jr., who is challenging incumbent Democrat Tom Malinowski in CD-7, had such a headquarters opening Monday night in Somerville. The candidate’s Facebook page described it as the opening of “our Victory Center.”
The event was closed to the press.
In fairness, it must be stated that the state Sunshine Law and other open government policies do not apply to strictly political events. The campaign had the right to keep the event closed.
Still, why keep a positive event off-limits to the press, and by extension, the public?
Murphy: Movie Theaters And Indoor Performance Venues Can Reopen Friday
Governor Murphy announced that movie theaters and performance centers can reopen on Friday, September, with capacity capped at lesser of 25% or 150 moviegoers or patrons.
Movie-goers in different parties must sit six feet apart. Masks are required at all times (unless eating popcorn, cracked the Governor).
Murphy: Indoor Dining Can Resume On Friday
Governor Murphy tweeted this morning that indoor dining can resume this Friday, at 25% capacity.
NEW: Restaurants statewide will be able to open for indoor dining beginning this FRIDAY at 25% capacity and with social distancing between tables.
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) August 31, 2020
Read Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing: 8/31/2020
NY Post: VBM Fraud Confessions, From An Anonymous Jersey Operative
The NY Post published a piece citing an anonymous New Jersey political insider who says VBM fraud is no myth.
From the piece: ‘But the political insider, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he fears prosecution, said fraud is more the rule than the exception. His dirty work has taken him through the weeds of municipal and federal elections in Paterson, Atlantic City, Camden, Newark, Hoboken and Hudson County and his fingerprints can be found in local legislative, mayoral and congressional races across the Garden State. Some of the biggest names and highest office holders in New Jersey have benefited from his tricks, according to campaign records The Post reviewed.
“This is a real thing,” he said. “And there is going to be a f–king war coming November 3rd over this stuff … If they knew how the sausage was made, they could fix it.”’
In a sign the special state Senate election in District 25 is sizing up to be a real race, incumbent Anthony M. Bucco is attacking his Democratic opponent, Rupande Mehta.
That’s interesting because incumbents often tend to just ignore their opponents.
The impetus for all this is the pandemic; no surprise there.
We begin this saga three months ago when Bucco joined with the Morris County Chamber of Commerce to compile an unsolicited report for the governor on ways the state could safely reopen. The state, in fact, did begin its stages of reopening a few weeks later.
Gov. Phil Murphy often has said he responds to the findings of medical experts, not political pressure. No matter, as is the case in politics, Bucco is taking some of the credit.
He says the committee’s recommendations “have panned out without new virus spikes since June 1.”
In a recent Facebook post, Mehta claims that the incumbent Republican “has been negligent throughout his time in office during times of need and is only voicing his stance on this public health issue now that he is up for re-election.” She added that “Bucco’s ignorance further exacerbates our current public health crisis.”
Bucco is not taking kindly to that swipe.
Today, he fired back at Mehta, saying that her seeming opposition to the report in question shows she is so extreme she is “out of step with the governor of her own party.” And for good measure, the senator added that this is not the time to send “inexperienced hyper-partisans” like Mehta to Trenton.
District 25, which covers northern and western Morris County plus Bernardsville in Somerset, has been strongly Republican. But the Dems are making inroads.
Recent voter registration data gives Republicans an estimated 4,700 voter advantage in the district. Two years ago, it was about 9,000.
On this Day: August 28th, 1963, MLK Delivers His ‘I have a Dream’ Speech
Murphy On Indoor Dining: ‘We’re Almost There’
Governor Murphy said this morning that ‘we’re almost there‘ on the reopening of indoor dining.
From NJ.com’s Brent Johnson: “We’re almost there. That’s what I’ll say,” Murphy said during an unrelated news conference in Metuchen. “We’re getting close,” he added. “With positivity rates around 2% or lower, rates of transmission that have now come down meaningfully below 1. And they’re sustained. This isn’t just one good day. They’re sustained. We’re getting very close to be able to take that step.”
Murphy Eyes a Gas Tax Hike
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is considering raising the state’s gasoline tax by 5 to 10 cents per gallon to cover road and rail projects as a commuting shutdown has decimated fuel sales, according to a person briefed on the matter, according to Boomberg.
That story can be found here.
On Friday, the state Treasury announced an increase in the gas tax of 9.3 cents per gallon effective on October 1st of this year.