Ciattarelli Confident Murphy will be ‘One and Done in ’21’

By Fred Snowflack | June 2, 2021

Insider NJ

HACKENSACK – “Florio Free in ’93” was the Republican war cry 28 years ago this fall.

Times certainly have changed, but with the 2021 gubernatorial campaign upon us, Jack Ciattarelli has a catch phrase of his own.

“One and done in ’21,” the presumed GOP candidate proclaimed Wednesday night to a happy and hopeful group of Bergen County Republicans.

Recent history is something state Republicans enjoy bringing up. It has, of course, been more than 40 years since a Democratic governor was re-elected.

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End nears for state’s health emergency orders

LILO H. STAINTON, HEALTH CARE WRITER | JUNE 3, 2021

NJ Spotlight News

Gov. Phil Murphy regularly used his briefings on the pandemic to explain his related executive orders.

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New Jersey’s public health emergency could soon end — at least on paper —  under revised legislation that protects some of Gov. Phil Murphy’s pandemic-related power but also gives lawmakers more say in the dwindling elements of the state’s COVID-19 response.

Democratic legislative leaders unveiled the new draft Wednesday, a day before it is scheduled for a final vote in both the Senate and Assembly. It comes during a week when New Jersey plans to start winding down some of the pandemic-related programs and takes additional steps to reopen its economy.

The legislation — first introduced in mid-May — would allow most of Murphy’s executive orders tied to the outbreak to expire within a month, while protecting about a dozen of these measures until the end of 2021. But unlike the first draft, this gives lawmakers some say over COVID-19 orders issued by state departments and agencies and ties future mask mandates and social-distancing restrictions to federal benchmarks.

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How Cory Booker is wielding newfound Senate power

Cory Booker can still vividly recall the first time a police officer drew a gun on him.

Growing up in suburban New Jersey, he had his share of negative experiences with the police — an unfortunate rite of passage for many Black Americans. But he describes his college years in the wealthy and mostly white Northern California enclave of Palo Alto as the period where “the fear was at its highest in my life.” In one terrifying moment, Booker said the police stopped him and accused him of stealing his own car.

“It seemed like half the police force came out and they kept me, sitting in my car, screaming at me commands," the New Jersey senator recounted in a recent interview in his Capitol office. "And ultimately the only excuse they gave me was that I fit the description of somebody that they were looking for.”

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NJ got $6 billion in pandemic relief. But there are strings attached

JOHN REITMEYER, BUDGET/FINANCE WRITER | JUNE 2, 2021 

NJ Spotlight News

New Jersey has received more than $6 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funding, and like other federal aid programs, there’s a long list of things the money can and cannot be spent on.

Gov. Phil Murphy has yet to say exactly how the state plans to use its share of funding from the American Rescue Plan Act within those rules.

But the governor has said recently that he’s been having “good conversations” with lawmakers, who’ve already signaled they want a role in appropriating the latest tranche of federal aid.

The discussions are underway as Murphy and fellow Democrats who control both houses of the state Legislature gear up to also negotiate the next annual budget in the run-up to the July 1 start of the state’s fiscal year.

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Recent spate of anti-Semitic attacks leads Booker to help form Black-Jewish Senate coalition

Posted Jun 01, 2021

A rabbi was on the front line with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and former Rep. John Lewis on the historic march from Selma to Montgomery for voting rights. Another rabbi spoke before King took the stage during the 1963 March on Washington. Two young Jewish civil rights workers were murdered in Mississippi trying to register Blacks to vote.

Decades later, when Barack Obama became the nation’s first Black president, his support among Jewish voters was higher than from any other religious or ethnic group other than African Americans, according to exit polls.

Now, in the wake of a surge in anti-Semitic attacks U.S. Sen. Cory Booker is looking toward that long-term alliance as he takes on a major role in establishing a Black-Jewish coalition in the Senate. The move has precedence.

“There’s been a long history of Black people and Jewish sisters and brothers working together on a whole range of concerns,” said U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga.

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Lining up to fight the party line

JEFF PILLETS | JUNE 2, 2021 

NJ Spotlight News

A sample ballot from Camden for the upcoming primary election shows the party line for Democrats in Column 1.

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In late April, the members of Camden County’s Democratic Committee got together via Zoom to review and endorse candidates running in the primary. The meeting lasted a grand total of seven minutes.

Kate Delaney, a teacher from Collingswood who wanted to be mayor, was at the meeting waiting to make her best argument to land her party’s endorsement. She never got the chance.

“I was completely cut off,” Delaney said in a recent interview. “I was told the endorsements were already made  by the party chairman. No room for argument. No room for debate. There wasn’t even a process.’”

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As more get vaccinated, risks grow for those who don’t

LILO H. STAINTON, HEALTH CARE WRITER | JUNE 1, 2021 

NJ Spotlight News

May 28, 2021: COVID-19 vaccination site at at the Asbury Park Senior Center

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For eight months, Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration has focused on what seemed at times like an insurmountable achievement: vaccinating 4.7 million residents — or 70% of eligible adults — against the coronavirus.

As that goal nears, with more than 4 million residents fully vaccinated, some experts said the state should keep its foot on the gas, pushing forward until as many people as possible are immunized against COVID-19.

“There is no magic number,” said Dr. Martin Blaser, a professor at Rutgers’ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS), in New Brunswick, and director of the university’s Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine.

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Phil Murphy took on New Jersey’s Democratic machine. Now he needs it to win.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy spent his first term delivering win after win for liberal activists. He raised taxes on millionaires. He secured drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants. And he went to war with much of the Democratic establishment, making an enemy of George Norcross, the state’s most feared political power broker.

Now, Murphy — seeking reelection to a second term — has broken with his progressive base as they’ve turned their attention to an institutional foe: That same boss-dominated power structure Murphy had shunned.

The governor has made peace with Norcross and is embracing New Jersey‘s unusual primary ballot system, which gives prominent placement to party-endorsed candidates awarded the party's "line" on the ballot, shunting go-it-alone challengers to far-flung positions.

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In the June primary, will Republicans shoot themselves in the foot? | Editorial

Posted May 30, 2021

Imagine what a disaster it would be for Republicans if Hirsh Singh won the primary in New Jersey – sealing the gubernatorial election for Democrat Phil Murphy, without any real public test.

Singh, who is in his mid-30s, has never held any public office. He’s known mostly for being a loudmouth online, like the recent video on Facebook in which he says, “Now remember kids: safety first,” before firing off an AR-15. He’s a social media influencer, whose only brand is Trump.

This is not the sort of thing that usually sells in New Jersey. But Singh has a viable shot at the nomination, if a new poll is accurate. It shows the frontrunner, former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, with only a 6-point lead.

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New Jersey has the 7th highest unemployment rate in the country. It’s due to several reasons, experts say.

Posted May 29, 2021

Despite windows plastered with “help wanted” signs and businesses offering incentives for new employees, New Jersey’s unemployment remains among the highest in the nation.

Tied for seventh-highest unemployment rate in the country with Washington D.C., New Jersey has a 7.5% unemployment rate — just a 0.1 point jump from March — and has regained 54% of jobs lost due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the April Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

The high rate persists even as the staffing shortage in restaurants and shops continues, leaving some businesses panicking during a crucial time in the recovery. But economists said there are reasons for the higher unemployment rate and the state’s continued crawl.

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