WHO’S UP and WHO’S DOWN: Week of the Minimum Wage Deal

WHO’S UP

Phil Murphy

Amid groans of grand visions but no political roadmap to get there on the heels of his state of the state speech, the governor notched a win this week when he reached an agreement with Democratic lawmakers to phase in a $15 minimum wage over the next five years. He and his allies also assumed a forward position in condemning Economic Development Authority (EDA) corporate tax subsidies awarded during the Christie era.

Steve Sweeney

The senate president proved he is more than obstructionist – and more than a willing ally to a Republican governor – as he broke bread with fellow Democrat Murphy and consented to a minimum wage hike.

Craig Coughlin

Ah, the steady one, the wise one. The adult among pygmies trying to play pick-up basketball with too sharp elbows and no finesse game. Throughout negotiations, the lunch bucket crowd darling from Middlesex kept the huge egos in his midst focused on the actual issues.

Matt Milam

The former Democratic assemblyman landed back in the game this week as the announced assembly replacement for Senator Bob Andrezejczak, who supplanted U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-1) in the upper chamber.

Karlito Almeda

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37) this week tapped the former U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell staffer as her legislative aide.

Seth Levin

Assemblywoman Quijano tapped him to be her new Chief of Staff.

Crystal Pruitt

Assemblyman Zwicker picked Pruitt as his new Chief of the Staff.

No Man’s Land

Assemblywoman Joanne Downey, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker and Assemblyman Roy Freiman

Change induces jitters if your aim in life is simply to hang onto a legislative seat with no end in sight. But in those battleground districts this year, the dramatic Thursday afternoon minimum wage agreement struck between Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders may somewhat complicate the 2019 reelection endeavors of the aforementioned assembly people. Or not. They were also supposed to be in serious jeopardy in 2017 when Murphy ran on a progressive agenda and still won. By two touchdowns. We’ll see.

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, and Assemblyman Tony Bucco, Jr.

The Republicans are probably convinced they hit a homerun today. Indeed, conspiracy theorists might say Democratic legislative leaders just cut the deal to return cross-the-aisle nice guy Bramnick to power, and chipping LD16 team leader state Senator Kip Bateman (R-16) a gift to realign the district in his favor ahead of the overlord’s 2021 reelection. Was it intentional overreach designed (ultimately) to help Bramnick and Bateman and hurt Murphy? We’ll see.

WHO’S DOWN

Dave Kenny

Fellow Republican Hamilton Councilwoman Illeana Schirmer called on the Hamilton Business Administrator to resign from the Yeade Administration for what she described as an unforgivable “abuse of power.”

Donald Trump

The federal government shutdown drags dreadfully on, even as excerpts from a forthcoming book by former Governor Chris Christie describes the president’s administration as an amalgam of “amateurs, grifters, weaklings, convicted and unconvicted felons.” 

George Gilmore

The feds last week indicted the longtime Ocean County Republican Chairman on charges of tax evasion after a federal grand jury found that Gilmore spent more than $2.5 million on personal expenses — including antiques, artwork, animal tusks and marble flooring — even though he owed more than $1 million in federal taxes, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig said.

Donald Dinsmore

The Republican challenger for a Freeholder seat in Morris County took a bit of a hit this week when former GOP Lieutenant Governor nominee Carlos Rendo walked back his endorsement of the challenger and instead issued a statement of support for the ticket headed by Freeholder Tom Mastrangelo.  But it will be a long campaign season in Morris.

Pete Cammarano

Following a painful appearance in front of the Select Committee on Investigations, the Murphy chief of staff limped out of the front office trailing the jeers of negotiators who said it took just 24 hours with him gone for them to strike a minimum wage deal.

 

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