INSIDERNJ’S Who’s Up and Up’s Down: Week of the Trenton Disaster



Kelly Yaede

A judge threw out a charge against the Hamilton mayor for her alleged role in the release of the expunged criminal records of a Republican Primary opponent. The ruling comes at a good time, as the two-time incumbent faces reelection on Nov. 5th.

Tom Malinowski

The Democratic Congressman from the 7th District pounced with an unequivocal condemnation of a hate-spewing local elected official in his district, prompting an apology from Raritan Twp. Deputy Mayor Louis Reiner (see below).

Andrew Zwicker and Roy Freiman

This was supposed to be a competitive district this year, but we may have to wait until redistricting to once again see a bruising general election year contest in LD16. Raritan Twp. Deputy Mayor Reiner’s hateful Facebook post met with swift derision by the incumbent Democrats.

Jerell Blakeley

The At-Large Councilman from Trenton convened an emergency town hall on Wednesday to hear from residents from the greater Trenton area hurt and/or opposed to the racist hatred and ignorance expressed by City Council President Kathy McBride and others on the Trenton City Council. The heads-up councilman was fast, unequivocal, and soothing in his response to the national headline NJ capital city embarrassment.

Isaac Avilucea

A complement to the political columnists on staff, the ever-pesky award-winning Trentonian beat reporter has done his part to turn Trenton’s truly last-standing scrappy newspaper into more than merely a cops and crime tabloid. He was all over the latest Trenton scandal.

Lee Clark

Following the resignation of fellow Democrat Josh Davis, Clark assumed the oath of office this week to become Phillipsburg’s first African American councilman. Running for a full term on in the general election, Clark filled a vacancy on the five-member, Republican-majority town council.


The City of Trenton

A chunk of the governing body of New Jersey’s capital city officially epitomizes ignorance: a national embarrassment, prompting even The New York Times to plunge into the ugly trough, horridly re-fashioning the city’s signature line: “Trenton Makes, the World Takes.”

Kathy McBride, George Muschal and Robin Vaughn

Last week, this week. It doesn’t matter. Just let these words of the Trenton Council Prez sink in: “During the discussions, McBride allegedly said an attorney from the city’s law department was “able to wait her out and Jew her down” for a lesser settlement, according to an email obtained by The Trentonian.” Veteran Councilman Muschal also apologized for his own ignorant comments, as did Councilwoman Robin Vaughn.

Louis Reiner

The Raritan Twp. Committeeman (deputy mayor of the Hunterdon County town) posted racist, hateful comments about Islam on Facebook page, prompting a rebuke from U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-7) (see above) and later Mayor Jeff Kuhl, followed by a galvanized Hunterdon County Democratic Committee led by Chair Arlene Quinones Perez. Reiner did issue a contrite apology. But Quinones-Perez said it wasn’t enough.

Mark Caliguire and Christine Madrid

Running for two seats in LD16, the Republican challengers from Montgomery had to endure the albatross of GOP elected official Reiner in a key town in their district as they try to make something happen against incumbents Zwicker and Freiman (see above).

Cory Booker

His job approval rating sagging but still positive, the junior senator from New Jersey is losing his bid for the presidency in his home state, according to a Monmouth University Poll released on Thursday morning. He’s not coming in not second, not third, but fourth, behind Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders respectively. The good news for Booker, according to the poll, is that New Jersey voters like him for vice president, which may be his endgame at this point.

Tom Kean, Jr. 

Slapped by the Democratic mayor in his home town for running in an election year when President Donald J. Trump will presumably occupy the top of the ticket (the Trump-Kean connection underscored by the announcement this week of a Pro-kean PAC advised by Trump political director Bill Stepien), the Senate Republican Leader will go into the race encumbered by the additional headache in the 7th District of the social media-hyperactive, hate-spewing right wing of his party. Malinowski, for his part, in the aftermath of the hateful idiocy from Trenton Council members, joined all members of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation to condemn antisemitism.

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