Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing for 10/28/2020:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I think the words didn’t explain as well what I exactly felt. It’s not undying support that, whatever you say I’m going to do, or undying support, I agree with whatever you say. It was undying support for the presidency, for the idea of the greatness of America.” – CD2 Rep. Van Drew walking back his pledge of ‘undying support’ for President Trump
The statewide COVID-19 count stands at 232,997 cases and 14,531 fatalities (and 1,793 probable fatalities) as of Wednesday; the viral transmission rate is 1.25.
Governor Murphy signed an executive order providing mandatory health and safety standards for all New Jersey workers at work during the pandemic. Workers groups, advocates, and labor unions applauded the order. The NJBIA criticized the order as a ‘mandate’ without any balance for employer concerns.
The USDOJ launched a federal investigation into the state-run veteran nursing homes, according to Politico NJ. Rep. Pascrell slammed the investigation as a ‘political cudgel’ and accused the DOJ of using nursing home fatalities as ‘political pawns’. Rep. Gottheimer applauded the investigation. Senator Pennacchio lauded the investigation, saying ‘at least somebody was listening’ regarding the fatalities.
USDOT Secretary Chao announced $18M in grants for the state’s rail network.
The Port Authority will fine travelers with no masks, according to the Bergen Record.
The NJDHS announced $44.8M in additional SNAP benefits.
A Bergen County man was charged with a money laundering conspiracy.
Cumberland County isolated inmates after COVID-19 testing, according to the Courier Post.
Passaic County began its ballot counting process, according to NorthJersey.com.
Senator Menendez called on the State Department and DHS to halt unauthorized immigration enforcement actions in Guatemala.
The NJ State Bar Association honored Gibbons’ Michael Griffinger.
ICYMI: Officials announce COVID-19 vaccination plan; Murphy says case spike culprit is indoor private gatherings; Carpenito unveiled E-Day anti-fraud plan; Menendez excoriated ACB confirmation; Saturday was highest one-day increase of cases; Murphy on quarantine: ‘I feel like a million bucks‘; NJDOL processed $1.2B towards $300 benefit; Murphy to quarantine following COVID-19 exposure, Dan Bryan tested positive, DeLamater tested positive, Steinhardt demanded answers; Persichilli: ‘virus has not stopped circulating‘; Pascrell, Malinowski attempt visit to mail processing center; Murphy announced COVID-19 transparency site; Murphy has 60% approval; Adubato, Sr passed away; Murphy offered somber holiday advice
A new Monmouth University poll finds Georgia swinging towards the Democrats, with Joe Biden gaining ground, ahead of Election Day.
The NJEA PAC organization committee endorsed Governor Murphy for next year’s 2021 gubernatorial Dem primary.
The Burlington County GOP headquarters has been shut down, evidently due to a COVID-19 case.
In CD2, read a few battleground bar-notes under the late-game hood in the battleground district., as both sides feel motivated in the final stretch of the campaign. Atlantic City operative Craig Callaway was paid another $60k by the Van Drew campaign according to a recent FEC filing (iLine post). GOP Rep. Van Drew walked back his previous pledge of ‘undying support’ to President Trump (iLine post). Candidate Amy Kennedy discusses affordable healthcare and mental health with Steve Adubato (video).
In LD25, Halloween plays a role in the special Senate election.
Asian Americans are a powerful electoral force in the state, according to the Burlington County Times.
Morris County Democratic freeholder candidate Cary Amaro released her final campaign video.
ICYMI: Hoffman digs in; some preparing for post-election civil discord; Callaway jeered at Kennedy, who hit the ground in Gloucester; CD4’s Schmid anticipates underdog win; Becchi held GOTV rally; tight race in LD25, Bucco/Mehta debated; King’s email missive likening ‘Chatham Moms For Change’ to ‘modern hate group’; Menendez fighting for Latino vote in FLl; Callaway, working for Van Drew, jeered at Kennedy’s ground game in critical Atlantic County; CD7’s dueling ads; in CD11, ‘bringing home the bacon’; Mehta, Booker debated; Smith, Schmid sparred; Stockton: Trump competitive in SJ; Frelinghuysen spreading campaign cash (iLine); Small savaged Callaway; Kean Sr. touts Jr. (iLine); Sherrill, Becchi faced off again; Malinowski, Kean locked horns; Prempeh hopes to unseat Pascrell; Sherrill, Becchi faced off; CD1, 2 nuggets; state of CD3; names in potential Booker succession game; Van Drew, Kennedy debate; Pallotta says Trump helps candidacy
The Assembly will vote today on a COVID-19 recovery bill package.
Senate President Sweeney met with the NJBIA to discuss challenges facing the business community.
Assemblyman Scharfenberger urged Governor Murphy to postpone the scheduled minimum wage increase, saying ‘financial disaster looms for New Jersey’s small businesses’.
Immigrant advocates called on Governor Murphy to address the MVC’s proposed regulations which could prevent 300k undocumented immigrants from obtaining driver’s licenses.
Environmental groups urged the state not to join the Transportation and Climate Initiative, calling it a ‘weak climate pact’.
ICYMI: Murphy signed legislation reforming LTC; SJU advanced Fernandez-Vino lifetime appointment; Murphy nominates Allen-McMillan for NJDOE; Murphy took action on bills; Chiaravalloti slammed NJQSAC delay veto; Murphy announced leadership changes at DMVA
Insider NJ barnstorms battleground Pennsylvania, as Trump and Biden forces rally for their candidates.
Read and download Insider NJ’s 2020 Insider OUT 100: LGBT publication.
Insider NJ and Latino Spirit combined forces to interview three of the state’s Latina legislators on their government experiences.
In Mendham Borough, misleading messages to voters follow a nationwide trend of election misinformation, according to NJ Spotlight.
In Atlantic City, HUD Secretary Carson officially designated the RX5 Cyber Center as the newest EnVision Center.
In Jersey City, BA Brian Platt will leave to take up the BA position in Kansas City (iLine post). Councilwoman Prinz-Arey endorsed two members of the Education Matters BOE slate. Mayor Fulop expanded the city’s approach to vulnerable homeless residents.
In Cape May City, a Super PAC mailer tied to Atlantic City ripped into a council candidate, according to the Cape May Sentinel.
In Roxbury, the mayor says voter turnout has been OK but could be better, according to TAPinto.
In Waldwick, council candidates Paradiso and Weiner were endorsed by Senator Booker and Rep. Gottheimer.
In Paterson, council elections are proceeding under a cloud of VBM fraud allegations, according to Paterson Press. Mayor Sayegh signed an executive order requiring all city businesses to close at midnight.
In Passaic City, Passaic County opened Dundee Island Park, the county’s first new park in 50 years.
In Trenton, the city launched a new job creation loan program for small businesses.
In Toms River, BOE candidates for the regional school district sparred over money woes, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Bernardsville, the administrator will retire after 30 years of service, according to NJ Hills.
In Englewood, the PBA says police officers used appropriate force at a BLM rally, according to the Bergen Record.
In Longport, contracts for beachfill and capital improvements were approved, according to Downbeach.
In Florham Park, the council approved self-funded health care, according to NJ Hills.
In Monroe, the DPW shut down after a worker tested positive for COVID-19, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Brick, the town is moving to ban short-term rentals due to weekend parties, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Dover, schools will remain virtual until next year due to rising COVID-19 cases, according to the Daily Record.
In Morristown, the high school is closed again due to COVID-19, according to Morristown Green.
In Plainfield, schools will offer COVID-19 testing to students, according to MyCentralJersey.
ICYMI: In Paterson, Sayegh hit back at Trump; in AC, Small seeks big numbers amid underwhelming start; in Waldwick, candidate Zoom event attacked by swastika-scribbling trolls; in Hillsborough, GOP mailer denounced as ‘racist’ and ‘frightening’
Insider NJ columnist Tom Barrett writes ‘White Heat In The White House‘
Insider NJ columnist and former Senate Majority Leader Bernard Kenny writes ‘Biden – and the Country – Need a Knockout Blow on Tuesday‘
Insider NJ columnist Alan Joel Steinberg writes ‘Down to the Wire: My Electoral College Projection‘
In a guest column on Insider NJ, Lou Manzo writes ‘The 2020 Presidential Election: Final Analysis and Projections‘
Insider NJ editor Max Pizarro writes ‘The Exhortation of a Jersey Winner: An Election Year Sports Lesson from Coach Bruno‘
Insider NJ columnist Steven Goldstein writes ‘Democrats, We Can Win Big Enough to Wipe Trump Off the Face of the Political Earth‘
Insider NJ columnist Robert Hennelly writes ‘Atlantic City’s Warning for a Nation at the Crossroads‘
AROUND THE WEB:
Jonathan D. Salant, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
- Democratic challenger Amy Kennedy now is favored to defeat party-switching Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew in New Jersey’s hottest congressional race, according to Inside Elections. The Washington-based publication that tracks congressional contests says President Donald Trump is the chief reason.
Dino Flammia, NJ1015
- Election officials in New Jersey thought that nothing could be more stressful than running an election eight days after Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the state in 2012. It turns out that was a breeze, at least compared to their workload over the past several weeks, for 12 to 15 hours each day. And the chaos may not stop for another several days.
John Heinis, Hudson County View
- The Union City Board of Education appears to be heading towards all remote learning, with teachers and their aides beginning to work from home as of Monday and non-instructional staff starting a staggered schedule as of yesterday.
Briana Vannozzi, NJ Spotlight
- Hospitals are starting to feel the strain again with a new wave of new coronavirus patients. Newark’s restrictions on nonessential businesses are being backed by the head University Hospital. Dr. Shereef Elnahal is predicting the situation will get worse if the state doesn’t get the surge under control; pointing to the rising number of new COVID-19 patient admissions at his facility where the number of hospitalizations is doubling every week.
Nicholas Katzban, Morristown Daily Record
- An oil refinery in Paulsboro will shutter due to low fuel consumption during the the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report from Bloomberg, following an overall trend that’s shaken the industry.
Matt Friedman, Politico
- In his campaign for reelection this year, Republican state Sen. Anthony M. Bucco wants to talk about the $4.5 billion the Democrat-controlled Legislature authorized Gov. Phil Murphy to borrow to fund a budget that includes pet projects of some lawmakers.
Dustin Racioppi, Trenton Bureau
- When Gov. Phil Murphy was with a group of friends who were potentially exposed to COVID-19 this month, he was also with a former top aide who was banished from the highest levels of Democratic politics earlier this year after being accused of creating a “toxic” work environment and bullying women.
- Because New Jersey is considered a reliably blue state and almost certain to go for Joe Biden, Donald Trump is not likely to hold one of his trademark big rallies here. But that does not seem to diminish our enthusiasm for voting.
Deena Yellin, NorthJersey.com
- As an advocate for survivors of clergy sex abuse and a watchdog of the Catholic Church, Robert Hoatson is accustomed to provoking the wrath of Catholic leaders. He’s also no stranger to the consequences of his nearly five decades of activism, including being fired from his job, suspended from the priesthood and treated with disdain by church colleagues.
Kevin Coughlin, Morristown Green
- After five years on the drawing board, a linear park finally may get built at the Modera apartment complex on Speedwell Avenue. On Tuesday the Morristown council unanimously approved an $818,000 bid by Ralph Checchio Inc. of Scotch Plains to construct the park, with completion targeted for spring 2021.
Jayed Rahman, Paterson Times
- After flattening the curve over the past four months, Paterson has been seeing a surge in new coronavirus cases. Data shows an average of 48 positive cases per day over the past three days, highest daily figures since mid-June. On Tuesday, Paterson had 46 new cases, according to municipal data.
Tom Bergeron, roi-nj.com
- Women Entrepreneurship Week quickly had grown to be a week of must-attend panels and events at Montclair State University, highlighting the successes — and challenges — women face as entrepreneurs and business leaders. The event, which started in 2014, had taken on a national feel as more than 200 colleges in the U.S. and in 32 countries picked up on the idea and held their own weeklong efforts in conjunction with the events at Montclair State.
Cherry Hill Courier-Post
- Counting of vite-by-mail ballots began in Camden County on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, 10 days before Election Day.
- Booker has been able to take a couple of weekends off from his own campaign trail to help Joe Biden in battleground states North Carolina and Pennsylvania.