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Scutari has cover to back Malinowski

Democratic insiders say that Lisa Mandelblatt's endorsement of rival Tom Malinowski  gives State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden) some cover to push the Union organization line away from Linda Weber if he wins the special election for county chairman later this month. There had been some pressure on Democrats to back a woman challenger to Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton) in the 7th district race, but there's more going on behind the
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NJ Clergy rally to smack DOJ

Dozens of clergy and faith leaders will hold a rally at the federal courthouse today condemning the Department of Justice’s objection to the presence of clergy at U.S. Senator Bob Menendez’s trial last year. The interdenominational New Jersey Clergy for Social Justice is expected to rail against a DOJ allegation that “public prayer and the presence of clergy” exposed jurors to “undue extrajudicial pressure,” according to a media advisory. On
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Lance says shutdown was avoidable

Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton) says that government funding and the Children’s Health Insurance Program should have been signed into law last week to avoid a government shutdown. “Shutting down the government is always bad public policy – a strategy I opposed this year and in 2013 under President Obama,” Lance said. “I am pleased cloture passed in the Senate today with strong bipartisan support.  The government will soon be reopened,
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Welle hires operative with a pedigree

Democratic congressional candidate Josh Welle has brought on an experienced political operative with strong New Jersey connections to manage his campaign against 19-term incumbent Chris Smith. Michael Bland comes with an impressive resume that includes working for the Obama re-election and for Sen. Jon Corzine.  He’s also the son of veteran political insider Kellie Drakeford, who has been a fixture in New Jersey politics for decades. He was the Deputy
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Al Jazeera paid Malinowski for appearances

Democratic congressional candidate Tom Malinowski was a paid contributor to Al Jazeera, according to financial disclosures filed with the U.S. House of Representatives. On the surface, there’s nothing terribly wrong with that.  But it does create an interesting question for Malinowski, who cites his foreign policy credentials as a senior official in the Obama State Department: does he believe Al Jazeera has editorial independence from the Qatar government or not?
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Murphy’s new Comella is de Blasio, Clinton alum

To run his communications operation, Gov.-elect Phil Murphy has stolen away a top aide to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Mahen Gunaratna, Murphy’s pick for Director of Communications, served as de Blasio’s Deputy Communications Director in 2017.  He also worked as de Blasio’s research director on his 2013 mayoral campaign. Gunaratna was the de Blasio staffer who had his cell phone swiped on a subway in Manhattan.  He
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Asaro-Angelo named Labor Commissioner

Gov.-elect Phil Murphy has nominated Robert Asaro-Angelo, the son of union organizers and a familiar face to New Jersey labor leaders as Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development. Asaro-Angelo checks three boxes for Murphy: he’s an experienced Democratic strategist, has strong ties to many influential unions, and he served in Barack Obama’s administration. The East Brunswick native was the Executive Director of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee from 2007
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For GOP, small Bergen town is a must-win in ’18

Rochelle Park is a small Bergen County municipality that is another illustration of the changing landscape of New Jersey politics: a swing-town with slightly more Republicans than Democrats.  Democrats won there in 2017.  It’s a good example of the kind of town Republicans can’t lose if they expect any sort of future electoral success. It’s one of the New Jersey towns where Donald Trump outperformed other GOP candidates.  Donald Trump
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Grenier pays for poking the bear

There is already speculation that Salem County Republicans will seek new leadership after a disastrous 2017 for their chairman, Fran Grenier. Grenier won just 41% against Senate President Steve Sweeney in an $18.7 million contest that may be the most expensive state legislative race in American history. Republican Freeholder Bob Vanderslice lost by seven points, leaving the GOP a narrow 3-2 control of county government. But five days before Christmas,