WHO’S UP AND WHO’S DOWN: Heading Down to the Wire

WHO’S UP

Phil Murphy

A Suffolk Poll showed the Democratic candidate for Governor holding onto a double digit lead over Republican Kim Guadagno as most people seem resigned at this point to a lackluster win by the Democrat, his numbers kicked northward by essentially the same party machines that backed Chris Christie’s reelection in 2013. An event at Liberty House tonight in Jersey City gleamed with all the accoutrements of establishment power, notably labor and elected officials. But Murphy got some anti-establishment love today, too, when Larry Hamm, who backed Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19) in the Democratic Primary, this week urged his supporters to vote Murphy-Oliver as a repudiation of President Donald J. Trump.

Craig Coughlin

At a fundraiser last week, the 19th District Assemblyman tried on the Raiders of the Lost Ark Biblical headdress last seen draped over Vincent Prieto and Sheila Oliver prior to both those speakerships exploding spectacularly. Again, based on how Oliver and Prieto ended up, it doesn’t bode well for “Craig,” but in the meantime his Colonia event boasted a big budget atmosphere complete with the special effects of Essex County and even a cameo appearance by Leroy “Indiana” Jones.

Leroy Jones

The Essex County Democratic Committee Chairman hosted a successful fundraiser last week, crafted around Sheila Oliver optics as he strives to rack a big vote total out of Essex on Nov. 7th. Jones’ candidate for East Orange mayor joined Jones and Murphy at the head table, as Oliver – Murphy’s LG pick – lapped a standing ovation led by powerful Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo. If indeed Oliver goes to the Department of Community Affairs in the new administration, as is apparently the plan, Jones sits in the political catbird seat.

Jen Beck

The northern numbers look good for Murphy based on the precision machinery of the party in Essex and Hudson counties. But the Democratic gubernatorial candidate hasn’t sealed the deal for suburban voters in Monmouth County, and the Asbury Park Press’ resistance to the Democrat played heavily into its reelection endorsement of the 11th District Republican state senator. It’s still a pick ’em senate race, with insiders on both sides of the aisle sizing up a three-point lead for Beck within the margin of error.

Peter Cammarano

The insider’s insider has the pole position for the job of chief of staff in a Phil Murphy Administration should Murphy get past Guadagno next week. The choice is met universally internally with praise, according to sources who spoke to InsiderNJ this week. One source said it was practically a done deal.

WHO’S DOWN

Donald J. Trump

Former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos pled guilty on Monday to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia, while former Trump 2016 Campaign Manager Paul Manafort and aide Rick Gates ate numerous federal charges. Media outlets honed in on the likelihood that Papadopolous is cooperating with the FBI’s Russia probe.

Rodney Frelinghuysen

The powerful Chair of the House Appropriations Committee was the only member of the New Jersey Congressional delegation to vote in favor of President Donald J. Trump’s tax cut bill, which would eliminate the ability of state residents to deduct what they pay in local taxes on their federal income tax returns. Tax brackets would be changed and the standard deduction increased, but in most cases, state residents would pay more in federal taxes.

Bob Menendez

Judge William Walls denied the defense team’s motion for a mistrial. It’s a procedural move by the defense, but a denial nonetheless. According to reporter Alex Zdan, “Walls read his decision from the bench, faulting the defense attorneys for a mistrial motion he said was a waste of time. ‘The problem with the defense is they fail to acknowledge they’re bound by the rules of evidence,’ Walls said.”

Muhammed Akil and Shawn E. Thomas-Sully

A story by Politico NJ’s Matt Friedman uncovers a recording and details how the former chief of staff and another political ally of Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop respectively seem to try to steer a city contract to a specific company, circumventing a public bidding process. The story dredges up an ugly City Hall in the early days of Fulop’s tenure as mayor.

Kim Guadagno

Republicans who stood with the lieutenant governor in the GOP Primary quietly made the case that Guadagno’s gender would prove a difference-maker in a general election match-up with – presumably – Murphy. But it’s not proving true, at least according to the polls, which, of course, give an incomplete story, but a story nonetheless. Just 29% of likely women voters surveyed by Quinnipiac University support Guadagno, compared to 65% who back Murphy.

 

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