Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing: 3/12/2021 – Insider NJ

Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing for 3/12/2021:


QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The legislative process surrounding legalization was a total mess and the laws that resulted reflect that. There’s too much at stake to just throw up our hands and walk away.” – Assemblyman Thomson on marijuana legalization


TOP STORY: Open Primaries and Vanishing Running Mates: the LD37 Mess Continues


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


In battleground LD2, far-right politics complicates the GOP’s efforts in the key district, according to Politico NJ.


In LD13, Monmouth Commissioner Arnone endorsed Vicky Flynn for Assembly, while Commissioner Burry endorsed incumbent Assemblywoman DiMaso, according to MoreMonmouthMusings.


In LD20, the NJEA PAC endorsed Senator Cryan in the Democratic primary.


In LD37, Governor Murphy won’t take sides in the Democratic primary fight, according to the Bergen Record. The battle shows the power of the party line, according to NJ Spotlight.


The CWA endorsed Governor Murphy for re-election.


The Passaic County GOP selected Aisha Mamkej as their surrogate candidate.


The Hispanic Republicans of North Jersey held their annual Lincoln Day dinner.


In CD2, Democrat Tim Johnson announced his candidacy to challenge GOP Rep. Van Drew next year.


In LD20, the Kean Federation of Teachers endorsed Senator Cryan in the primary.


ICYMI: In LD37, Johnson runningmates dropped out; Bergen GOP takes hit with Kugler charges; Schepisi defeated Auth for Senate seat; in LD16, Zwirahn launched Assembly bid; in LD20, Roselle officials endorsed Cryan team; in LD21, Salmon ends Assembly bid (iLine post); in LD31, Davis selected Sampson to replace Chiaravalloti amid LD31 turbulence; Insider NJ’s Who’s Up And Who’s Down; Ciattarelli’s restaurant tour; in battleground LD2, Grossman will run (iLine post); in LD26, Fadden and Blauer announced for Assembly; DeCroce returned fire after targeted by mailer; LD37’s Johnson stands in forward position in biggest Dem conflagration; LD39’s Schepisi expressed shock at Auth’s turnaround; Passaic Dems announced slate; symbiosis in LD2, LD3; in LD20, Holley will run Union slate (iLine post); Atkins will run with Cryan, Quijano; Holley expressed outrage at Staten removal; NJGOP’s plan to improve elections; in LD16, Jaffer hopes to break glass ceiling; Zwicker’s Insider interview; in LD21, Krychiw points to pandemic expertise


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


Speaker Coughlin appointed Nicole Brown as the Assembly Majority Office’s new General Counsel.


The NJDOE announced that NJ schools have bridged the ‘digital divide’.


Senator Singer and Assemblyman Kean and Thompson are launching a grassroots campaign in an effort to revise the state’s new marijuana laws.


Senator Testa and Assemblymen Simonsen and McLellan slammed Governor Murphy’s COVID-19 mandates, saying he ‘still hasn’t learned that one size does not fit all’.


Senator Oroho and Assemblymen Wirths and Space called on Governor Murphy to ensure that no school districts lose any aid considering American Rescue Plan funds coming to the state.


Senator Lagana and Assemblymembers Swain and Tully lauded federal and state COVID-19 relief funds for LD38.


The NJ Society of CPAs urged the state to extend the state income tax filing deadline.


The ACDL-NJ and NACDL urged Governor Murphy to sign legislation ending mandatory minimum sentences for certain offenses.


The NJLCV applauded the appointment of Michael Regan as EPA Director.


ICYMI: Lobbying hit record $105M last year; Murphy open to fixing weed laws


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing

Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


In Hillside, a group of urban mayors endorsed Mayor Vertreese for re-election.


In Parsippany, Mayor Soriano and his runningmates demanded the restoration of parental notification in the state’s new marijuana laws.


In Atlantic City, a judge reinstated Farook Hossain to the BOE, according to the Press of Atlantic City.


In Bernardsville, an open space purchase was terminated, according to NJ Hills.


In Hillsborough, the ‘centerpoint’ development for the downtown vision was approved, according to MyCentralJersey.


In Jersey City, a resolution approving the elimination of the ‘county party line’ passed, despite garnering only 2 yes votes, according to the Jersey Journal.


In Montville, residents don’t like the senior housing plan, according to the Daily Record.


In Mount Holly, the downtown is being upgraded, according to Burlington County Times.


In Ocean City, the city plans to ban weed shops again, according to the Press of Atlantic City.


In Paterson, the council moved a major poverty fighting effort closer to reality, according to TAPinto. Councilman Jackson pleaded not guilty to voter fraud charges, according to Paterson Press.


In South Brunswick, the expansion of the Islamic Society was approved, according to MyCentralJersey.


In Toms River, the Ocean County GOP nullified the Republican Club, according to the Asbury Park Press.


In Watchung Borough, Goodloe won’t seek re-election to the council, according to NJ Hills.


ICYMI: Senators released breakdown of COVID relief aid to towns; in Edison, Bhagia addressed 2017 racial flyer investigation; in Camden, Kahn exploring running for mayor following impending resignation of Moran; in Trenton, Blakely says politics have become toxic; in Edison, Shah urged MCDO to allow open primary; in Bordentown, Sciortino announced candidacy for commissioner; in Phillipsburg, Warren County Dems rebuked McVey’s sexist remark; in Plainfield, Mapp kicked off re-election; in Paterson, Jackson, Mendez indicted on voter fraud charges; in JC, Bing announced candidacy for Ward C; in AC, Small awarded the line in primary; in Parsippany, Martin joined Valori’s ticket as race intensifies in early days


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing






2008 allegation of ‘inappropriate and unacceptable’ comments surfaces against Johnson in Senate campaign

Matt Friedman, Politico


  • A political activist from Englewood accused Assemblymember Gordon Johnson more than a decade ago of making comments to her that were “inappropriate and unacceptable coming from a public official” and of “past and present sexual improprieties.”


Abolishing the NJ ballot line: Beyond a progressive brand | Opinion

Imani R. Oakley, Special to the USA TODAY Network


  • The 2020 presidential elections gave us plenty of Democratic candidates and plenty of lip service to the progressive brand. There were calls from true leftist candidates to respect the human right of healthcare and give the people of this nation Medicare For All. There were plans by true leftist candidates to boost the economy by relieving struggling college grads from the burdens of student loan debt through the cancellation of at least $50,000.


Hawthorne Will See Green Party Choice in the Upcoming General Election

John Van Vliet, TAPinto Hawthorne


  • Election season might seem a little distant as the winter snows finally start to vanish, but in Hawthorne the political parties are already preparing for the new leadership contests. With the mayor and three at-large council positions up for grabs, the voters will have a choice for who to best represent them. Craig Cayetano, who had previously run for Ward 3 Councilman, has announced he will be seeking office again as an independent Green Party candidate, presenting another option for Hawthorne voters who are either unaffiliated or unsatisfied with the Republican and Democrat nominees.


Diegnan, Karabinchak, and Stanely win the Legislative District 18 Endorsement – Coyle losses by a wide margin again

TAPinto Edison Staff


  • Incumbent Senator Diegnan, Assemblyman Karabinchak, and Assemblyman Stanley were voted in by county committee members and will receive the Middlesex Democratic organization endorsement. Senator Patrick Diegnan ran unopposed and was voted in by acclamation.


‘This is what I do’: How a Newark teacher called, texted, and trudged through the snow to reach her students during COVID

Patrick Wall, Chalkbeat Newark


  • Joicki Floyd woke up early one morning last week just before Newark rumbled to life. She folded laundry while her children slept, savoring the quiet she knew wouldn’t last. At 8:30 a.m., it was time for school. Floyd, who teaches ninth-grade English, logged into a video chat and waited for her students’ faces to appear.


Hudson County electeds, administrators to get 2.5% raises after board of commissioners vote

John Heinis, Hudson County View


  • The Hudson County Board of Commissioners, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, and certain administrators will receive a 2.5 percent salary increase following a unanimous vote (8-0) this afternoon.


Jersey leads the world – in COVID deaths: Time for a probe into where Murphy went wrong | Mulshine

Paul Mulshine, Star-Ledger


  • Neera Tanden is the head of the Center for American Progress, which the Washington Post termed “Washington’s leading liberal think tank.” In one of the first nominations Joe Biden made as president-elect, he selected Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, a plum post indeed. In a classic bit of irony, however, Tanden turned out to have the same addiction to tweeting that did in Donald Trump.


Many NJ towns banned marijuana sales back in 2018. What happens now that weed is legal?

Matt Fagan,


  • Garfield city leaders were adamant in 2018 when they voted to ban marijuana sales. Dispensaries could lead to panhandling, odors and worse, and the city wanted no part. “The council wanted everyone to know this is a hard stance” against the sale of marijuana, city attorney Chris Ditkas said at the time. But Garfield has changed its tune.


‘Overall we are looking better.’ Hard-hit Passaic County sees light a year into COVID

David M. Zimmer,


  • The COVID-19 pandemic has saturated Passaic County like no other county in New Jersey, said officials one year after the area’s first cases were identified. In the 360 days after the pandemic hit on March 14, 2020, the northern county’s per capita rates of COVID-19 contraction and related deaths were the state’s highest. The positivity rate of more than 9% also ranked near the top in New Jersey.


Despite COVID eviction freeze, NJ renters still being locked out by landlords

Ashley Balcerzak,


  • When Bakema McFarland came home one day last September and tried to slide her key into the lock of her apartment door, it wouldn’t work. While she was out, her landlord had changed the lock. McFarland, 30, called the police. Once they helped her get inside the attic she rented in a Newark home, she saw that all of her possessions were gone.


Chairman Holman Among the Victors at Last Night’s Ocean County GOP Convention

Stephanie A. Faughnan,


  • Selected candidates and a new Toms River Republican club were not the only ones to receive votes of affirmation at last night’s Ocean County GOP Convention. Chairman Frank B. Holman III proved victorious as the Ocean County Republican Party boss. “Frank Holman has had to go through hell for the last two years,” said Jerry Dasti, Ocean County GOP Finance Chairman. “This is a good man who has gotten the heck beaten out of him for no reason. He’s kept us all together. “


Sayegh administration cut Paterson Covid-19 testing budget by $150,000 in October

Jayed Rahman, Paterson Times


  • Just weeks after the Division of Health began administering Covid-19 tests to residents using its mobile unit, mayor Andre Sayegh’s administration reduced the city’s testing budget by $150,000. Business administrator Kathleen Long told Division of Health officials in late October the city’s Covid-19 testing budget had been reduced by 20 percent, according to emails obtained by the Paterson Times through a records request.


N.J. Chamber asking state for (at least) $500M for small business

Tom Bergeron,


  • The passage — and, soon, signing — of the $1.9 trillion stimulus in Washington, D.C., means more than $10 billion of aid will soon be headed to New Jersey. The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce is asking Gov. Phil Murphy and the Legislature to use a chunk of New Jersey’s discretionary aid to fund additional grants and loans to businesses in New Jersey that are struggling to survive the pandemic.


NJBIZ Conversations: Dr. Shereef Elnahal

NJBiz Staff


  • The first few weeks of March 2021 brings a succession of sad one-year anniversaries. The first case of COVID-19 in New Jersey. The first death. The first emergency declaration. So it’s an appropriate time to look back at what happened a year ago, what’s happened since and what we can expect over the next 12 months. And few health care professionals experienced those first few weeks of the pandemic quite like Dr. Shereef Elnahal.


Already stressed NJ election officials urge caution in rush to early voting

Michelle Brunetti Post, Press of Atlantic City


  • Election officials are warning that the stress put on them by the state’s first mostly vote-by-mail elections in 2020 has taken a toll on their staffs that will make it more difficult to quickly handle another first for the state — early voting.

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