InsiderNJ’s Who’s Up and Who’s Down with Nov. 5th in Sight

As Governor Phil Murphy’s allies rolled out a nearly $2 million ad buy to make him appear effective and leaderly at mid-term, and Murphy personally appeared last night in Hudson County to define his own 2021 reelection street cred in a key region, legislators like Speaker Craig Coughlin and Senator Troy Singleton continued to raise money in battleground districts towards a super-majority on steroids.

While that happened inside, activists on the streets of Newark blocked a major thoroughfare in pursuit of Coughlin’s support for Murphy’s designs on driver’s licenses for undocumented workers.

It was intensifying


Linda Greenstein and Troy Singleton

When asked 119 current state lawmakers for copies of their federal and state tax returns for the last five years, only senators Greenstein of Middlesex and Singleton of Burlington complied.

Darrin Russo

The Democratic candidate for Somerset County sheriff this week snarfed up the endorsement of the loser in the GOP Primary, in addition to the support of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Officers Association FOP #39. The development irritated the chairman of the Somerset Republican Party, who in less than two weeks faces the prospect of losing control of the freeholder board.

James L. Pfeiffer

Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal this week announced the appointment of Pfeiffer as Acting Warren County Prosecutor effective November 1. Pfeiffer will replace Prosecutor Richard T. Burke, who has served as Warren County Prosecutor since March 30, 2012.  Prosecutor Burke will be taking a position as an Assistant Attorney General with the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA).

Robert Andrzejczak

Most sources viewed with skepticism a poll issued this week by Stockton University, which shows the incumbent Democratic senator with a double digit lead over Republican challenger Michael Testa. The 1st Legislative District is naturally Republican-leaning and Trump-friendly. The always-animated Testa, moreover, is running a good campaign. It feels significantly closer than Stockton’s poll. The pair will face off next week in their much anticipated Cape May Courthouse debate.

The Phillipsburg GOP

Councilman Mark Lutz  this week announced a party affiliation change from Democrat to Republican.

“My core values have not changed,” he said in a release, “but the view of the current Progressive faction of Democrats are not those that I endorse locally, statewide or am proud to stand with. I always considered myself a Kennedy Democrat, which no longer exists. It is a loss for the local Democratic Party. They have managed to divide lifelong Democrats in town with their socialist, progressive party ideas and constant fighting among themselves. The local Republican Party has shown they appeal to fiscal responsibility as well as being a united party. They have proven they can work with each other, even when they don’t agree. After much consideration, I have made the decision to change political affiliations and work with a team that believes in unity.” The Republican’s currently have three GOP elected officials on the town council, and with Councilman Lutz’s party change, they now have a fourth.


Kelly Yaede and Jeff Martin

The Mayor of Hamilton and Council President respectively battled in their lone debate forum this week, an episode that essentially amounted to a draw in what insiders in both camps describe as a very close contest. Homegrown Republican Yaede made her case for township indepedence from the Democratic Party establishment, while Air Force vet Martin leaned on the details of his consolidation of the township’s fire apparatus.


Bill Parenti

Nearly all signs point to a hard year for the GOP in Somerset, and the chief of the North Plainfield Police Department, including voter registration and vote by mail balloting, as Parenti’s rival for the office of sheriff (see above) surged with a late flurry of endorsements.

Tom Mastrangelo

Court filings on behalf of losing freeholder candidates Donald Dinsmore, William Felegi, Cathy Winterfield call the incumbent Morris County freeholder a “political thug” and include a transcript of a phone message filled with profanity that Mastrangelo allegedly left for Parsippany Republican Lou Valori back in 2016. It’s embarrassing.

Jon Bramnick 

The incumbent assembly minority leader absorbed a late surge of mail supplied by an entity called Monday Morning New Jersey. Maybe it’s designed to keep the battleground Republican off balance as other battleground districts intensify (especially LD1, LD8, and LD25) or maybe it is truly a sign that Bramnick is in definite danger of lising his seat. Either way, he and running mate Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz (R-21) had yet another adversary to contend with as time ticked down to Nov. 5th.

Monday Morning NJ

Cory Booker

In this week’s Monmouth University Poll, New Jersey’s junior senator recorded a dismal 2% among South Carolina voters who are likely to vote in the 2020 Democratic primary.

Stephen R. Ellis

The Mayor of Phillipsburg lost a council seat this week when former counquered foe in the 2019 Democratic Mayoral primary Lutz switched parties. The remaining seat on council is a Democratic seat, recently refilled after a vacancy.

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