Insider NJ Key Must-Read Pieces: Week of the Budget and Election Intensification


From the Statehouse to Perth Amboy, from CD2 to CD7, from Atlantic County to Middlesex County, here are the Insider NJ key must-read pieces from the past week:

Insider NJ’s 2020 Insider 100: Millennials Publication

In the following pages you will find an accounting of some the rising minds on the Garden State political scene.

Trump and Biden Forces Clash Civilly in Atlantic County

In the old days, it was shirts versus skins. In this apocalyptic version of America, it’s the masked versus the maskless. The earlier game was played in the street. This game is played on either side of the street

Prez 2020: Young N.J. Voters, ‘Old Idiots in Decline’, and a Crossroads

Many young voters across North Jersey are finding it difficult to confidently vote for either candidate this 2020 presidential election.

Whose Streets? Trump’s Streets!

From supporters waving Trump flags at passing motorists to outdoor rallies to old-fashion intimate fundraisers, the pandemic is not stopping many Republicans from campaigning as usual.

Does She Got Game? Kennedy’s Atlantic County Ground War Critical in JVD Tilt

U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-2) has a rep as a fierce and hard campaigner but, in the words of one source who spoke to InsiderNJ on condition of anonymity, “I do think the thing that concerns the Van Drew camp is [Amy] Kennedy’s seemingly unlimited cash supply. He’s also worried about challenger Kennedy aligning notoriously fractured parties and producing big Democratic Party turnout in Atlantic County (home to 67,562, or the biggest concentration of the district’s Democrats).

Horses, Dolls and Dogs: an NJ Jaunt to Battleground Pennsylvania

I steadied myself and took a deep and fateful breath before, one foot in front of the other, I crossed the bridge from 2020 national nonentity New Jersey into legitimate battleground state Pennsylvania.

VBM Division at the Heart of ‘Trump Country’

Voting continues to divide Republicans.

The Women Who Saved New Jersey from Utter Political Ignominy

The source spoke as though he was sitting on a stool in a tavern with sawdust on the floor, only this was the COVID-19 era, so only the voice came through the phone, atmospheric and suggestive of grim proximity but in actuality occupying nowhere.

A Muddied Murphy Path to the White House

In many ways, Governor Murphy will need to seriously scrutinize his political blueprints to build not so much a better mouse trap, but a better mix of fertilizer, if he wishes to clear a greener path and transcend the political maelstrom of Trenton for a stake in Washington DC.

Damned if Trump Does, Damned if Trump Doesn’t

In some respects it can be argued that Christie was the political Trump long before the latter made any attempt at running for office. Christie was the founding father of Republican tough guy assurance in a time of lukewarm Obama gentility.

In the (Ongoing!) Somerset Battlezone with GOP Chairman Tim Howes

In a downtown Main Street office formerly occupied by former U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-7), Somerset County GOP Chairman Tim Howes handled the institutional reference points of his organization with a kind of loving care.

George Floyd Brother to Jersey: ‘I Love You’; while Jersey Activist Calls out Murphy, Grewal

Wearing a black mask emblazoned with a fist and the words “I can’t breathe” over his face, and a Yankees cap on his head, the brother of the late George Floyd came to New Jersey today to march with members of the Black Lives Matter movement and their allies, and to express opposition to the police brutality that extinguished his brother’s life on May 25th.

Garden State Equality’s 2020 (Federal) Endorsements

There’s a lot of “lesser of two evils” and “both parties are the same” chatter happening, especially with the presidential election heating up. But historically and also and right now, the fight for gay/LGBT rights is proof that democrats and republicans are definitely not the same.

Trouble in Paradise (or at Least Atlantic City): The Callaway Interview

Controversial local political operative – and driver of the local Democratic Committee, whose sister chairs the Atlantic City Democrats – Craig Callaway said he doesn’t owe the party a fig.

Kean ‘Obviously Not His Father’: Malinowski Clubs GOP Opponent

Tom Malinowski can’t ignore the attacks coming his way from Tom H. Kean Jr., especially one linking him to protecting sex predators.

Trump’s Shadow Stretches over the Battle of Two Toms

The battle of the two Toms in New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District is intensifying and the outcome of the election could be determined by how voters, especially women, feel about President Donald Trump and his handling of the Coronavirus pandemic and demands for racial justice across the country.

Race of the Year: Gottheimer Versus Van Drew

At opposite ends of the state last December, activists ignored the cold weather and rallied in Glen Rock and Mays Landing, demanding that their local Democratic congressmen support impeaching Donald Trump.

Testa Applies His Skills to Making the Reelection Case for Van Drew

“Nobody knows the legislative district like Jeff Van Drew, and I think he does transcend party,” Testa told InsiderNJ in a Wednesday afternoon phone interview. “I don’t think Jeff Van Drew would say he left the party so much as – like Ronald Reagan – the Democrat Party left him.”

Poll: Kennedy Leading Van Drew in CD2

Of the 12 congressional races in New Jersey this year, the Kennedy-Van Drew matchup in south Jersey’s CD-2 is attracting the most national attention. It’s easy to see why.

Key Anti-Police Brutality Activist Pittman Unmotivated by Prez Election

Driven to action by the 2011 police killing of Barry Deloatch, and pulled again with renewed urgency onto the streets after the police killing of George Floyd of Minneapolis, Tormel Pittman of New Brunswick says he doesn’t affiliate with Black Lives Matter, and instead calls himself a humanitarian and a global advocate.

Mayor Small: ‘We Get to Kill Two Birds with One Stone on Nov. 3rd’

In a wide-ranging interview this afternoon at City Hall, Small spoke about his own record as mayor, the relationship between Black Lives Matter and the police, the challenges of a vote by mail campaign, and the uniqueness of his own political obstacle course.

In Perth Amboy, Vas Tries to Walk Down Diaz in Next Gen Redemption

They had a shark problem around here over a hundred years ago, but the area townsfolk handled it, bludgeoning the beast out of commission and into local folklore, though the baywaters still have a Peter Benchley glisten in early autumn.

Who Will Win the Perth Amboy Mayor’s Race?

In Perth Amboy this year, Mayor Wilda Diaz is seeking a fourth term in office.

Rice and Scutari Literally Go Nose-to-Nose over Decriminalization Bill

Senator Ronald Rice (D-28) and Senator Nick Scutari (D-22) had to be separated in the caucus room on Thursday after the two men intensified their public spat over marijuana decriminalization.

Sweeney Wants to Cap Employee Sick Days

The thought (or the tweet) echoes the core of the op-ed the senate president – somewhat sheepish about backing a millionaire’s tax – penned today in the Star-Ledger.

Republicans Make Their Point on the 2021 Budget

Everybody knew the state’s nine-month, pandemic-influenced budget was going to be approved Thursday by the Democratic-controlled Assembly.

Democrats Pass Murphy’s Budget over Condemnation by GOP Senators

Over vociferous GOP entreaties checked by a reminder by Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) for them – amid chafing – to keep their masks in place, the state Senate this morning passed Senate Bill No. 2021, which appropriates $32,711,205,000 in State funds and $13,856,161,239 in federal funds for the State budget for Fiscal Year 2021.

Rice Demands ‘Community Policing’ within Larger Justice Context

At a meeting this morning of the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee on the subject of police reform, state Senator Ronald L. Rice (D-28), himself a former Newark Police officer, expressed the importance of contextualizing the issue.

Murphy Philosophical about Baby Bonds

The big political win for the governor was with the so-called millionaire’s tax. For the last two years, Murphy wanted to raise income taxes on those earning more than $1 million a year from 8.97 percent to 10.75 percent. Making the very rich pay more is a big part of Murphy’s “tax fairness” plan.

Succeeding John Lewis, Pascrell Named Chairman of Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight

CD9 Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. today was named the chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight by Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA-01) and his Democratic colleagues on the committee.

Hanlon a Potential LG Option for the GOP

In the continuing bruising behind-the-scenes fight for governor 2021, look for the name of Monmouth County Clerk Christine Hanlon to surface as a potential candidate for lieutenant governor.

Remembering Tyler

Today marks 10 years since the passing of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University freshman whose death by suicide siezed the conscience of the nation. The following tribute was written by Tyler’s cousin Jen Ehrentraut whose memorable testimony helped pass NJ’s anti-bullying bill of rights.

Let the Voters, then the President, Choose Justice Ginsburg’s Successor

The passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had, and will continue to have, a profound impact on the residents of our community. I’d like to think that is so regardless of political stripes.

The Senate must Refuse to Consider Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee – Otherwise, Democracy in America is Threatened

In my column of Tuesday, September 22, 2020, I deliberately did not object to consideration of President Trump’s forthcoming nominee for the Supreme Court. While I reserved the right to object to the nominee, depending on her record and judicial philosophy, I did not protest Trump’s right to have his nominee considered by the Senate.

If a Trump-appointed Supreme Court reverses Roe v. Wade, a President Biden and a Democratic Congress would expand the High Court

As my readers know, since my days as a Northwestern University undergraduate, the study of American history has been my leading intellectual passion. At my tender age of three score and ten, my intellectual passions are those most capable of fulfillment!

Dem Leadership Short-Circuits a Serious Miscalculation

It took a few days, but cooler and infinitely wiser heads among Democratic Party leaders — including presidential candidate Joe Biden — prevailed and distanced themselves from demands from its vocal in house leftists that should the Senate confirm a Supreme Court justice nominee, the court should be expanded and packed with jurists who will swear to uphold the party’s legislative agenda.

Faith and Insecurity

As Rabbi Sacks points out, for most people, the most damaging part of COVID-19 is insecurity and uncertainty.

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