Van Drew's defection to GOP haunts him in tight race

It was supposed to be an audacious act of political survival.

Fearing Democrats’ impeachment push would end his career in a southern New Jersey district won by President Donald Trump, Rep. Jeff Van Drew dropped the “D” next to his name and joined the GOP.

But nearly one year and a global pandemic later, Van Drew’s pledge to give his “undying support” to Trump could end up sinking the freshman lawmaker.

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These N.J. candidates give Trump’s COVID-19 strategy a thumbs-up. Yes, seriously | Editorial

Posted Oct 28, 2020

There is no discernible plan from the Trump Administration to deal with the coronavirus, so we are being asked to surrender to the heartbreaking calculus of sickness and death.

Despite scientific warnings that the worst is yet to come, Donald Trump even sent Mike Pence to campaign after five of the VP’s staff members tested positive for the virus — an astonishing rejection of CDC quarantine guidelines — because his administration apparently has no interest in dealing with a scourge that has already killed 226,000 Americans in eight months.

And despite these warnings, every Republican challenger for Congressional seats in New Jersey supports or applauds the strategy of a president who has brought 15 cases of COVID all the way down to eight million.

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Debate reveals chasmic splits between Booker, Mehta

By Nikita BiryukovOctober 27 2020

New Jersey Globe

 

Tuesday’s debate between U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-Newark) and Republican challenger Rik Mehta revealed sharp, sometimes chasmic, splits between the two candidates on health care, the pandemic and race relations in the United States.

Booker, still less than a year off an unsuccessful presidential campaign, repeatedly launched attacks at President Donald Trump over his policies, while Mehta lobbed bombs at Gov. Phil Murphy while defending the president’s record.

The divide was perhaps in its sharpest relief over the candidate’s ratings of Murphy and Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

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Amy Kennedy now favored over Van Drew in N.J.’s hottest congressional race, and Trump is why

Posted Oct 28, 2020

Democratic challenger Amy Kennedy now is favored to defeat party-switching Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew in New Jersey’s hottest congressional race, according to Inside Elections.

The Washington-based publication that tracks congressional contests says President Donald Trump is the chief reason.

“Jeff Van Drew is the Trump candidate in this race,” said Jacob Rubashkin, a reporter and analyst Inside Elections.

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COVID-19 Comes to the Campaign Trail in New Jersey

By Max Pizarro | October 28, 2020

Insider NJ

 

As New Jersey’s COVID-19 case count upticks and the state’s largest city shuts down, the virus reached onto the campaign trail today in battleground Burlington County.

With six days until Election Day, Republican headquarters in Mount Holly – politics central in the CD3 race between U.S. Rep. Andy Kim and GOP challenger David Richter – just got shut down.

The reason?

Evidently a COVID-19 positive case.

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Misleading messages to Mendham voters follow nationwide trend of election misinformation

GENESIS OBANDO | OCTOBER 28, 2020

NJ Spotlight News

Oct. 27, 2020, a voter fills out her ballot in early in-person voting in Brooklyn, New York.

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Voters in Mendham have received messages saying Gov. Murphy decided there will be no in-person voting on Nov. 3 and that only voters registered as “visually impaired” will be allowed to vote in person. The messages came by letter, text and email and appear to have been sent by the Mendham Borough Republican Committee.

The information in the messages is not true.

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Feds launch investigation into New Jersey veterans homes, seek more info from New York

10/27/2020

Politico

A health worker arrives to take a nose swab sample as part of testing for the coronavirus at a nursing and rehabilitation facility. 

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The U.S. Department of Justice has launched a civil rights investigation into New Jersey’s state-run veterans homes, citing a lack of cooperation with an earlier probe as well as concerns over the quality of care at the facilities.

New Jersey officials estimate that 190 residents at veterans homes in Paramus and Menlo Park have died of Covid-19, representing roughly a third of their population at the start of the pandemic. The official tally, according to the state’s Covid-19 data dashboard, remains at 143.

“Recent reports suggest that the number of Covid-19 deaths at some nursing homes, including New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home at Menlo Park and New Jersey Veterans Home at Paramus … two long-term care facilities operated by the state, have been understated,” according to a letter sent to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy which was released by a Justice Department spokesperson Tuesday evening.

There is “cause for concern that the quality of medical care at these nursing homes has been deficient,” the letter states.

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Trump fights in court to block pandemic food aid for lowest-income Americans

 10/26/2020

Politico

A customer walks into a grocery store that displays a sign about SNAP food stamps benefits. 

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WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is fighting in federal court to block states from giving billions of dollars in emergency food stamps to the lowest-income Americans during the coronavirus crisis.

Residents of Pennsylvania and California have sued President Donald Trump’s Agriculture Department over a policy that has kept roughly 40 percent of households who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program from receiving any emergency benefits during the pandemic. After being ordered by a federal judge last week to proceed with the payments in the Pennsylvania case, the department is continuing to appeal.

The Agriculture Department says that it’s simply following the law. A spokesperson noted that a California court recently sided with USDA on a procedural matter.

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Opinion: The Republican Party’s Supreme Court

By 

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Oct. 26, 2020

 

What happened in the Senate chamber on Monday evening was, on its face, the playing out of a normal, well-established process of the American constitutional order: the confirmation of a president’s nominee to the Supreme Court.

But Senate Republicans, who represent a minority of the American people, are straining the legitimacy of the court by installing a deeply conservative jurist, Amy Coney Barrett, to a lifetime seat just days before an election that polls suggest could deal their party a major defeat.

As with President Trump’s two earlier nominees to the court, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, the details of Judge Barrett’s jurisprudence were less important than the fact that she had been anointed by the conservative activists at the Federalist Society. Along with hundreds of new lower-court judges installed in vacancies that Republicans refused to fill when Barack Obama was president, these three Supreme Court choices were part of the project to turn the courts from a counter-majoritarian shield that protects the rights of minorities to an anti-democratic sword to wield against popular progressive legislation like the Affordable Care Act.

The process also smacked of unseemly hypocrisy. Republicans raced to install Judge Barrett barely one week before a national election, in defiance of a principle they loudly insisted upon four years ago.

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Newark mayor imposes new restrictions as Covid-19 cases surge

10/26/2020 

Politico

Newark, New Jersey Mayor Ras Baraka speaks.

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New Jersey’s largest city is starting to wind back the clock on its economic reopening.

With cases spiking statewide, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka on Monday ordered non-essential businesses and restaurants to shut down indoor service after 8 p.m., effective Tuesday. Beauty salons, nail salons and barbershops will be able to offer their services by appointment only and gyms and health clubs have been ordered to close for at least 30 minutes each day for sanitization.

In addition, recreational centers are being closed to any non-school activities and in the East Ward, where viral spread is accelerating, parks are being closed to scheduled sporting events and practices.

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