Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing: 2/24/2020

Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing

Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing for 2/24/2020:


QUOTE OF THE DAY: We’re dying a slow death.” – Senate President Sweeney saying he’ll consider supporting a millionaire’s tax in exchange for a $1B in pension funding


TOP STORY: Atlantic City Volatility: Craig Callaway – The InsiderNJ Interview


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


Read Insider NJ’s key pieces from the past week.


Governor Murphy announced that he has a kidney tumor that is 90% likely to be cancerous and will have it removed in early March. ‘The prognosis is very good and I’m profoundly grateful to my doctors for detecting the tumor early’, tweeted the Governor.


A new FDU poll shows President Trump remaining deeply unpopular in New Jersey, despite a strong economy and a low unemployment rate in the state. Trump’s approval rating is 32%, with 62% disapproving. The President is strongly supported by Republicans (79%), while 48% of independents view him unfavorably.


Senate President Sweeney, Senator Oroho, and Rep. Gottheimer announced a plan to create ‘Rural Enterprise Zones’ to cover the Highlands and Pinelands Regions, which would include a lowered sales tax with a portion redirected to relevant county governments, and a tax credit for business creation.


Lawyers for Governor Murphy’s 2017 campaign and Katie Brennan reached an agreement on Friday to lift workers from non-disclosure agreements from the campaign, according to the Bergen Record.


Former CD11 Rep. Frelinghuysen is joining Greenberg Taurig, according to


The Sussex County Freeholder Board approved a resolution in support of the 2nd Amendment, according to NJ Herald.


The Tyler Clementi Foundation initiated an anti-bullying campaign, according to the Bergen Record.


The Edna Mahon Correctional Facility union is opposed to female officers conducting inmate strip searches, according to MyCentralJersey.


The Community FoodBank of NJ received a $200k grant from the Stop and Shop Family Foundation to support its College Campus Pantry Project.

ICYMI: Murphy conducted prez straw poll at town hall, says ‘let chips fall where they may‘; Weinberg cautioned against ‘rush to endorse‘ Bloomberg


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


In CD5, Democratic primary candidate Arati Kreibich blasted Rep. Gottheimer’s endorsement of Mike Bloomberg for President, saying the candidate’s past is ‘plagued with sexism, racism and a commitment to corporate donors’ and that Gottheimer’s endorsement shows a ‘lack of commitment to the people’ of the district. GOP primary candidate Frank Pallotta sent a letter to fellow GOP primary candidates urging them to support property tax relief while touting his plan to address the problem. Candidate James Baldini fired back in response, blasting Pallotta’s plan as a ‘gimmick and politics as usual’.


In CD7, GOP candidate Senator Kean addressed a group of Young Republicans, hammering Rep. Malinowski as a ‘cardboard cutout’ who brings ‘DC values’ to the district. The Republican campaign committee has been touting a poll showing Kean within 2-points of the incumbent.


In LD25, former Emerge NJ Executive Director Truscha Quattrone endorsed Rupande Mehta for Senate.


HCDO Chair DeGise released a statement supporting Senator Menendez’s call for an open presidential primary. NJ Democratic Chairman Currie released a statement saying the idea ‘has merit’ and would avoid ‘unnecessary divisiveness that could carry over after the primary’. Currie encouraged county party chairs to consider it.


Kivvit was named the ‘Public Affairs Firm of the Year‘ by the Reed Awards. The firm also won four other Reed Awards.


Vision Media won a Reed Award for ‘Best Spanish Language Direct Mail’.


Publitics won a Reed Award for best mail piece for a Democratic mayoral campaign.


Fuerza Strategy Group won a Reed Award for best online video.


ICYMI: In CD2, all eyes on Atlantic County in Dem primary; Christie, Murphy encounter at Rutgers game; Essex’s Luciano’s future uncertain; Malinowski officially kicked off in Morris


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


Here’s what’s on tap under the Gold Dome today and here’s what happened in Trenton on Thursday.


Senate President Sweeney says he’d consider Governor Murphy’s millionaire’s tax in exchange for an extra $1B for the state’s pension fund, according to


Senate President Sweeney proposed a funding plan for NJ Transit by dedicated several revenue sources to the agency: $300M a year from the corporate business tax, $125M a year from the NJ Turnpike revenue, and $75M from the Clean Energy Fund. The plan would also prohibit capital transfers from the agency’s operating budget. Sweeney said ‘dedicated funding will help prevent the diversion of resources needed to improve basic services so the agency can bring an end to the breakdowns, delays and service failures that have plagued the system far too long’. The Sierra Club expressed support for the plan in general, but expressed concern over the Clean Energy Fund diversion. The NJBIA expressed concern over the CBT dedication, saying that a permanent increase is ‘very discouraging and it will greatly impact our largest employers who have already provided historic revenue to the state over the past year’. NJ Chamber of Commerce CEO Bracken said he’s ‘very disappointed‘ that Sweeney is ‘ reneging on his commitment to phase out the corporation business tax surcharge’, adding that it ‘severely erodes our credibility with the businesses we are attempting to attract and retain in New Jersey’.


Senate President Sweeney and Senator Weinberg questioned the truthfulness of NJ Transit CEO Corbett’s testimony during Friday’s Select Committee hearing, according to Politico NJ.


Senator Testa and Assemblymen McLellan and Simonsen discussed efforts to combat the state’s sanctuary state directive with local leaders.


Senator Singleton will partner with the Bordentown Environmental Commission for his March service project.


The NJDOL announced $3M in grants to support apprenticeship innovation and growth.


ICYMI: Murphy announced legislation to overhaul the state’s anti-harassment laws; Brennan’s policy reform recommendations; NJ Legislative Black Caucus hosted gala; Murphy announced new workplace reform initiative


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


Former Governor Florio spoke to Stockton University students, urging them to become engaged and informed.


The Star-Ledger takes a look at how former Gov. Christie’s opioid commission helped shape the Trump Administration’s anti-drug efforts.


Join Insider NJ at our 2nd ‘Inside The Beltway’ reception in Washington DC on Thursday February 27th.


Listen to Politically Direct Episode 82 with host Fernando Uribe and guest Stacie Sherman, Bloomberg News NJ Bureau chief.


Visit the Insider 100 Publications page, the Events Calendar, the Press Release page, and check out the Insider NJ Video Gallery and Insider NJ Podcast page.


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


In Atlantic City, influential Democrat Craig Callaway sits down with Insider NJ to discuss the CD2 Democratic primary, local politics in the aftermath of disgraced former Mayor Gilliam, and national Democratic Party presidential primary politics. The city’s first medical cannabis dispensary opened.


In Jersey City, Mayor Fulop threw down the proverbial gauntlet over the BOE composition proposal.


In Trenton, Councilwoman Vaughn slammed Mayor Gusciora as a ‘racist’ following him dismissing her plan to change the way BOE members are selected, according to the Trentonian.


In Hackensack, GOP Chairman Tommy Toscsano passed away.


In West Amwell, a special election will be held after a township committee member was ruled ineligible, according to MyCentralJersey.


In Englewood Cliffs, the council fired the affordable housing attorney, according to the Bergen Record.


In Chatham Township, the borough administrator took responsibility for a misunderstanding where signs from a community group were taken down, according to TAPinto.


In Emerson, Borough Hall will be spared from demolition, according to the Bergen Record.


ICYMI: In Plainfield, Mapp supports Bloomberg; in Westwood, Birkner endorsed Buttigieg; in Cherry Hill, Adler endorsed Bloomberg; in Evesham, Warren stepping down as MC to work for Bloomberg; Municipal Innovation Summit’s 2020 summit; in Paterson, Sayegh endorsed Bloomberg; in Montclair, Spiller, Schmidt, Baskerville vying for mayoralty; in AC, Dems challenging ballot proposal to change form of government, Mayor Small’s Insider NJ Interview, Thomas-Fields looks to make history


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing




On plastic scourge, it’s time to lead, Mr. Speaker | Editorial

Star-Ledger Editorial Board


  • With requisite gravitas, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin affirms, “I’m committed to banning single-use plastic bags — the time has come, it’s abundantly clear that it’s good for everybody.”


The Bloom is off the Berg: Who’s going to be the anybody-but-Bernie candidate? | Mulshine

Paul Mulshine, Star-Ledger


  • As President Trump said following that Democratic presidential debate last week, it’s not that easy to do what he did in 2016. That barb was aimed at fellow New York billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who was dismantled by the other Democrats on a debate stage in Las Vegas last week. But it also applies to the other New York City native in this scrum, Bernie Sanders.


Oh no, not Bernie! | Moran

Tom Moran, Star-Ledger


  • In the 2018 midterms, Democrats took control of the House by winning swing districts in states like New Jersey, where four seats flipped. All four winners ran as centrists, with support for Obamacare at the heart of their pitch. It worked.


‘Census’ circulated in N.J. towns is actually a political survey, not the real thing

Chris Franklin, For


  • West Deptford resident Lillian Wolfe went out to get the mail and noticed a blank envelope. Inside it was a document labeled “2020 Congressional District Census.”


The Second Amendment sanctuary movement: Why now?

Michelle Brunetti Post, Press of Atlantic City


  • All over New Jersey and the nation, gun rights groups are asking local and county officials to designate the land within their borders “Second Amendment sanctuaries.” The designation is strictly symbolic, they acknowledge, with no legal ability to change state or federal law. But it sends a message to lawmakers, supporters say, to stop infringing on the rights of lawful gun owners.


Balmer, DiMaso and Pascucci Names Pulled Into Holmdel Election Lawsuit

Jeanne Wall, TAPinto Holmdel


  • If you don’t live in Holmdel, you can’t vote in Holmdel. That’s the punch line in what is becoming the longest election in the history of Holmdel Township. Illegal voting forms a key element of a lawsuit filed by former Holmdel School Board Member and recent Township Committee candidate, Chiung-Yin Cheng Liu.


Path to Progress? Theories abound regarding Sweeney’s call for CBT to be used for NJ Transit

Tom Bergeron,


  • So just why did state Senate President Steve Sweeney propose keeping 1% of the Corporate Business Tax — the tax he adamantly promised he would sunset when he reluctantly agreed to it last summer — to permanently fund New Jersey Transit, as he did Friday afternoon? Sweeney (D-West Deptford) said it makes sense: Businesses will benefit from it; they should pay for it.


Gibbs says voters want ‘fighter’ to represent them in Congress

David Levinsky, Burlington County Times


  • Gibbs is now considered the clear frontrunner in the four-person primary that includes former Hill International CEO David Richter, Barnegat Township Mayor John Novak and former Hainesport Committeeman Anthony Porto.


Officials: State faces ‘high’ threat level from white supremacist extremists

Briana Vannozzi, NJTV


  • Homegrown violent extremists continue to be the state’s top terror threat, with white supremacist extremists on the rise. That’s according to the 2020 Terrorism Threat Assessment from the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. Director Jared Maples discussed the report’s findings with Senior Correspondent Briana Vannozzi.


Richter’s savage ad against Gibbs is a potential preview of Kim’s October ads

Art Gallagher, More Monmouth Musings


  • The pre-primary for the GOP nomination CD-3 has gotten ugly. Rightfully so. David Richter, the former international construction executive who is vying for the 3rd district GOP nomination to take on Congressman Andy Kim, released an ad on facebook and youtube this afternoon that highlights his opponents’s arrest record and compares her, Kate Gibbs, to Snooki. The ad is hard hitting. Just like Andy Kim’s ads will be in October if Gibbs wins the primary on June 2.


How could a dad live on a college campus? Questions grow in Sarah Lawrence sex-cult scandal

Peter D. Kramer and Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy, The Journal News


  • The indictment accusing Larry Ray of preying on Sarah Lawrence College students — in a stunning web of manipulation, extortion, sex-trafficking and money-laundering — answered many questions, but not THE question. Sarah Lawrence alumni and even its president have tried to figure out how a dad could move into his daughter’s on-campus apartment without the college knowing about it.


In NJ, a Rogue Judge and No-Show Prosecutor are Sued

Nancy Solomon, WNYC News


  • The powerful chair of the New Jersey State Senate Judiciary Committee was named in a lawsuit filed this week by a woman who claims he was instrumental in her wrongful imprisonment.


Legislature Squarely in Sights of Murphy’s Ethics Reform Package

Colleen O’Dea, NJ Spotlight


  • The “ethics” reform package Gov. Phil Murphy proposed this week seeks to target both long-standing issues that have been raised in New Jersey and some relatively recent phenomena that go beyond what many term as ethics and into the realm of good government practices. With most of the proposals aimed at the Legislature — including a ban on accepting gifts and a more expansive financial disclosure report required each year — their chances of passage by the lawmakers who would have to live by the new rules are uncertain.


For 2020 presidential race, some Jews are throwing their yarmulkes into the ring

Deena Yellin, NorthJersey


  • Forget polls, campaign cash and rallies. Some American Jews are making their political preferences known with a more personal statement. After Saturday’s Nevada presidential caucus, the Democratic field remains fractured, with Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in the lead. But purveyors of politically themed yarmulkes say there’s a clear front-runner in their world: Sanders and his blue-tinged “Bernika.”


‘Mea Culpa Mike’ Bloomberg’s history of apologizing for gaffes has NJ connection | Kelly

Mike Kelly, NorthJersey


  • The first time I saw Michael Bloomberg, he was twiddling his thumbs. Round and round. Again and again. The occasion was hardly a moment for thumb twiddling. And yet, Bloomberg seemed oddly oblivious to what he was doing — or where he was.


Murphy briefly jeered at town hall after calling acts of violence ‘right-wing behavior’

Matt Arco, NJ Advance Media for


  • Gov. Phil Murphy was briefly jeered at his town hall meeting Thursday night after a small group of attendees disliked his use of the term “right-wing behavior” to describe recent acts of violence.


Paterson pastor Allan Boyer, who gave young people space for play, retiring

Jayed Rahman, Paterson Times


  • After a decade and half of serving as pastor of the Bethel AME Church on Auburn Street, pastor Allan Boyer, known for creating recreation space for young people and speaking out against gun violence, is retiring. Boyer, 74, reflected on his 15 years as pastor in Paterson. During that time, he actively worked to provide play space to youngsters in the crime-ridden Wrigley Park neighborhood in the 4th Ward while attempting to beautify the area.


How a Rutgers team is working to crack the coronavirus code



  • International experts are elevating warnings about the spread of the coronavirus, as Japan reports the first two deaths from passengers quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise liner. It’s speeding up the race to stop the spread of the infection. And though the CDC reports no confirmed cases here in New Jersey,


A private island is being sold for $200,000 at the Jersey Shore, and we have so many questions

Ellie Silverman, Philadelphia Inquirer


  • Off the tropical oasis that is the Jersey Shore, a 19-acre private island is a short boat ride away. While the Wildwoods may be crowded with tourists on its five miles of free beaches, this nearby enclave is empty. Though, according to its previous owner and a New Jersey official, it is most likely uninhabitable.
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