Oliver Named Department of Community Affairs Commissioner

By Alyana Alfaro7

Observer

Lieutenant Governor-elect Sheila Oliver.

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Lieutenant Governor-elect Sheila Oliver will lead the Department of Community Affairs in the coming Murphy administration, the transition team announced Thursday.

It’s the first cabinet appointment Governor-elect Phil Murphy, a Democrat, has made since winning election Tuesday night. New Jersey’s constitution requires that the lieutenant governor take on a cabinet position, head a major agency, or assume some of the powers of the governor’s office.

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the Republican who lost to Murphy in Tuesday’s election, served as the head of the Department of State. Guadagno is the first lieutenant governor in state history. The DCA job involves more policy work, overseeing services for local governments, housing code enforcement, fire safety and a mortgage finance agency, among other areas.

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New Jersey’s Next Governor: A Rich Donor With Progressive Roots

ASBURY PARK, N.J. — Philip Dunton Murphy bounded onto the stage here in early November amid rapturous cheers, though they were not all for him. His good friend, Jon Bon Jovi, had just blitzed through a three-song set, mixed with a brief endorsement of Mr. Murphy spoken over the chords of “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.”

For Mr. Murphy, it was a note-perfect moment: irrefutable testimony of his New Jersey bona fides and of his progressive, working-class roots from a native son revered as a balladeer of the New Jersey working stiff.

But over more than 500 days of relentless campaigning, such moments did not always come easily or naturally for Mr. Murphy, whose setting for much of his professional life has been rarefied corporate boardrooms and ornate European salons rather than rowdy campaign scenes.

 

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Phil Murphy Is Elected Governor of New Jersey, in a Lift for Democrats

ASBURY PARK, N.J. — New Jersey became the seventh state in the country where Democrats now control the legislative and executive branches with the election on Tuesday of Philip D. Murphy, a former Wall Street banker with no experience in office, as its 56th governor, according to The Associated Press.

The decisive victory by Mr. Murphy, who transformed himself from a Goldman Sachs executive into a progressive Democrat to match the direction of an anxious political party, gives Democrats a badly needed lift and a governor who has vowed to make his state a bulwark against the policies of President Trump.

Mr. Murphy’s ascendancy also brings an emphatic end to the tumultuous eight-year reign of Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who was once considered a viable contender for the White House but who leaves office as one of the country’s least popular governors.

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In Menendez Corruption Trial, Both Sides Make Their Final Cases

NEWARK — After two months of testimony that centered on whether their long friendship had crossed a legal line, jury deliberations began Monday afternoon in the federal corruption trial of Senator Robert Menendez and his co-defendant, Dr. Salomon Melgen, a wealthy eye doctor and political donor from Florida.

In his closing argument before jurors retreated to consider the two men’s fates, Abbe Lowell, a lawyer for Mr. Menendez, sought to poke holes in the prosecution’s case, asking jurors in a federal courtroom here to imagine themselves being found guilty based on the kind of evidence leveled against his client.

“You wouldn’t like it, and that’s for a good reason — that’s because it’s not what proof beyond a reasonable doubt requires,” Mr. Lowell said. “You would have a right to be mad.”

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Candidates for Governor Crisscross New Jersey in a Final Push

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. — The former governor of New Jersey leaned on the table as she addressed a room of volunteers wearing headsets, who enjoyed the brief break from making endless campaign phone calls here.

“As someone who was 16 points down a couple of weeks before my election,” began Christine Todd Whitman, the state’s first female governor, before she was interrupted by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, a fellow Republican who hopes to become the second.

“Say that again,” Ms. Guadagno said, smiling and pointing to Ms. Whitman’s 1993 victory as evidence that her campaign still has a chance.

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In Final Stretch, Guadagno Hits Property Taxes, Sanctuary Cities

By Alyana Alfaro • 11/02/17

Observer

Kim Guadagno at the Time to Eat Diner in Bridgewater.

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Lieutenant Gov. Kim Guadagno embarked on a statewide bus tour on Thursday, a jam-packed final push for the governorship as polls continue to give a double-digit lead to Phil Murphy.

“The only poll that really counts is the one on Tuesday,” Guadagno, the Republican nominee, told Observer during her second tour stop at Jughandle Brewing. “I am feeling the momentum. If people come out and vote their pocketbooks, there is no doubt on Wednesday I will be the governor-elect.”

A Monmouth University poll released this week put Guadagno 14 points behind Murphy. That poll showed a disengaged electorate and predicted record-low turnout of 38 percent for Tuesday’s election. Historically, Republican candidates do better in New Jersey during low-turnout election years but, even so, a double-digit polling gap would be hard for Guadagno to overcome.

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Governor’s Race 2017: Candidates Sharply Divided on Crime, Social Justice

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Murphy Leads Guadagno by 14 Points in New Monmouth Poll

By Alyana Alfaro • 11/01/17

Observer

Phil Murphy.

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Democrat Phil Murphy, a former U.S. ambassador to Germany and Goldman Sachs executive, has a 14-point lead in the New Jersey governor’s race one week out from the Nov. 7 election, according to a Monmouth University poll of likely voters.

But the two-major party candidates remain a mystery to roughly one-third of those voters, and turnout for the election is expected to reach a record low, the Monmouth pol found.

Murphy earned 53 percent support from likely voters while Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the Republican nominee, earned 39 percent, the poll found. Seven percent of voters said they were undecided and 2 percent said they would vote for another candidate.

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Guadagno, Hoping to Succeed Christie, Tries to Escape His Shadow

It was midway through the first debate when Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno sensed an opening. Her opponent, Philip D. Murphy, had mounted attack after attack focused on the record of Gov. Chris Christie, tying Ms. Guadagno to the deeply unpopular governor of New Jersey.

“The inconvenient truth for Phil is that Chris Christie is not on the ballot in November,” she said. “I am.”

Applause filled the debate hall. Ms. Guadagno, a Republican vying to succeed Mr. Christie, smiled. But Mr. Murphy, a Democrat, continued unfazed. “Christie-Guadagno” was a phrase he continued to utter, one name rarely spoken without the other.

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Governor’s Race 2017: Candidates Deeply Divided on Education

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