Who’s Up and Who’s Down: Week of April 4th

Who’s Up

Cory Booker

As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the junior Senator from New Jersey undertook the most impassioned argument on behalf of Ketanji Brown Jackson, who this week received confirmation by the United States Senate as the first African American woman Supreme Court Justice in the country’s history. “Today is a mountain of joy,” said Booker.

Jon Bon Jovi

With an initial $500,000 motivational pledge from philanthropists Dorothea and Jon Bon Jovi, Governor Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy this week announced the launch of a $1,000,000 challenge grant to support food security for the displaced Ukrainian people.

Lamonica McIver

U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), who himself served as Newark’s Central Ward Councilman, this week endorsed the sitting incumbent Councilwoman in his home ward:

“I am thrilled to endorse LaMonica McIver, an inspiring, energetic, and talented young leader and Councilwoman, to represent my home ward, the Central Ward of Newark. In 2018, LaMonica became the youngest woman elected to Newark’s City Council, and during her first term she has continued to impress and inspire us with her commitment to service. In our community’s time of need, she stepped up in a big way, leading a full relief effort and going door to door to provide warm meals and supplies to keep people safe during the pandemic. A shining example of proactive and dependable leadership, LaMonica is helping build a more vibrant community and stronger future in the place she was born and raised, improving the quality of life for Central Ward residents and all of Newark. It is urgent we re-elect LaMonica McIver to keep the Central Ward moving forward.”

Cari Fais

Governor Phil Murphy today announced his nomination of Fais as Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, where she will oversee a staff of over 500 professionals whose responsibilities include enforcing the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, one of the broadest consumer protection laws in the nation, and supporting dozens of professional licensure boards. Fais’s nomination will be submitted to the Senate and she will assume the role as Acting Director in the coming weeks.

Andre Sayegh

Governor Phil Murphy this week backed the reelection of the incumbent Mayor of Paterson, and former Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres backed Alex Mendez, who’s running against Sayegh.

Who’s Down

Joe Biden

According to this week’s Monmouth University Poll, the President has a net negative job rating of 45% approve to 50% disapprove in New Jersey, a state he won by 16 points in 2020. The president’s rating was positive into last summer, but dropped significantly right before last year’s gubernatorial election. Among Black, Latino, and Asian residents, Biden holds a 51% approve to 40% disapprove rating.  Last May, he had a much larger 69% to 24% positive margin with this group. His current rating among white New Jerseyans is a negative 42% approve to 56% disapprove (compared with 45% to 50% in May 2021). New Jersey opinion of the president’s job performance is lower than ratings given to other Democratic officeholders. Specifically, Sen. Cory Booker has a 53% approve to 32% disapprove rating and Sen. Bob Menendez has a 42% approve to 38% disapprove rating. In a Monmouth poll released yesterday, Gov. Phil Murphy holds a 55% approve to 35% disapprove rating. Unlike Biden, the current ratings for these three officeholders are similar to public opinion of their job performance one year ago.

“New Jersey is fundamentally a blue state.  The fact that Biden is doing so poorly here suggests he has lost enthusiasm among core constituencies in his own base,” said Murray.

Ian Smith

From The New York Post:

“Ian Smith, who risked jail time to keep his Atilis Gym in Bellmawr open throughout the pandemic, was arrested in Cinnaminson in the early hours of March 27 — 15 years after he killed a teenager in a drunken crash.

“’You know I’m a congressional candidate for this district, right?’ Smith says to the arresting officer while cuffed in the back of a cruiser, according to dashcam and bodycam footage obtained by NJ.com.”

Jason O’Donnell

A state appeals court ruled this week that it’s wrong for a candidate to take a bribe even if he’s merely running for office, a decision that reinstates charges against the former Democratic Assemblyman relating to his 2018 Bayonne mayoral campaign.

John R. Muniz

The Republican who unsuccessfully ran in 2018 to unseat Congressman Albio Sires in New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District did not file certain, necessary reports leading up to and after Election Day in his bid for Hudson County Surrogate, according to the state Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC).  ELEC filed a complaint against Muniz, dated November 24, 2021, and offered an opportunity for a hearing, asserting that Muniz had not, at the time of the complaint, filed a certified Form R-1 Report of Contributions and Expenditures (29-day pre-election report), Form A-1 Candidate-Sworn Statement, or Form A-2 Joint Candidates Committee-Sworn Statement.

Sal Bonaccorso

The GOP Mayor of Clark faces public outrage after a tape surfaced of him allegedly making racial and sexist slurs against blacks and women police officers. Bonaccorso was allegedly caught on tape calling Black New Jerseyans racial slurs, joking about lynching them, and opposing the hiring of women police officers, resulting in a $400,000 payout to a whistleblower by Clark Township.
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