New Jersey’s Team of Rivals

Gov. Phil Murphy’s decision to appoint Jim Johnson to lead the administration’s efforts to get Atlantic City back on its feet, marks a rarely-used “Team of Rivals” tactic of picking former opponents for key positions.  Johnson, a former U.S Undersecretary of the Treasury, finished second in the 2017 Democratic gubernatorial primary. The last governor to […]

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NJ’s history of winning the second time around

Jack Ciattarelli, who told the Associated Press that he expects to run for governor again in 2021, is following a familiar model of making back-to-back bids for statewide office.  Ciattarelli sough the Republican nomination for governor in 2017. Tom Kean, Jim Florio, Christine Todd Whitman and Jim McGreevey all lost statewide races before finally winning […]

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Steinhardt slams Murphy on sticker shock comment

During the 1993 gubernatorial campaign, Democrats skewered then-candidate Christine Todd Whitman for an unfortunate gaffe, when she said something like “as funny as it seems, $500 is a lot of money to some people.”  That clearly wasn’t Whitman’s intent, but the line stuck – largely because Gov. Jim Florio’s political team made sure of it. […]

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Whitman skips Murphy Inaugural

There’s probably nothing to read into this other than a quick mention: Christine Todd Whitman was the only one of the state’s seven living former Governors not in attendance at Phil Murphy’s inauguration.  Tom Kean, Jim Florio, Donald DiFrancesco, Jim McGreevey, Dick Codey, Jon Corzine and Chris Christie were there.  Also recognized was Ruthi Byrne, […]

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Corrado may block Traier nomination

Passaic County GOP Chairman John Traier may pay a price for his endorsement of Paul DiGaetano in last year’s State Senate primary in District 40. State Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-Passaic) has not yet signed off on Traier’s reappointment to the New Jersey Commission on Civil Rights.  The job requires Senate confirmation before Gov. Chris Christie […]

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Murphy service includes lobbyist’s prayer

An interfaith prayer service in honor of Gov.-elect Phil Murphy will include a prayer given by an influential Trenton lobbyist and Democratic strategist who is also an ordained interfaith minister. Pastor Idida Rodriguez is a partner at Essex County Democratic Chairman LeRoy Jones’ Trenton lobbying firm, 1868 Associates.  Well respected as a political operative, she […]

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Onetime Byrne foe turned into supporter

A considerate paid notice placed on the Star-Ledger obituary page is an indication of how highly even former political rivals have come to remember Brendan Byrne, the two-term Governor of New Jersey who died last Thursday at age 93. Peter Levine was a real estate developer who helped finance Rep. Bob Roe’s challenge to Byrne […]

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The one where Shaftan cost Whitman a landslide

The potential candidacy of Richard Pezzullo for the U.S. Senate reminds me of an important lesson for first-term Governors: pay attention to the base. During Gov. Christine Todd Whitman’s first term, she explored creating a bigger tent for Republicans. That’s what she believed. At the start of her 1997 campaign, she was popular enough, with […]

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How Murphy actually takes control of NJ Transit

Phil Murphy has called New Jersey Transit a “national disgrace” and has pledged to “knock it down” and build it as one of the earliest priorities of his fledgling administration. To do that, Murphy needs to first take control of the agency – literally. That won’t be too difficult. The New Jersey Transit Board of […]

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The story of Rodney’s long and painful path to Congress

The most frustrating thing for Rep. Rodney Proctor Frelinghuysen has got to be that he’s reached the zenith of his political career, only to face the inconvenience of an election. He’s being tagged as out of touch; that’s something incumbents often overcome. His greatest challenge is a complete unfamiliarity with campaigning against Democrats in competitive […]

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Evidence that Murphy isn’t superstitious

Phil Murphy is the first Governor to hold an inauguration day prayer service at the Shiloh Baptist Church in Trenton since Jim Florio did it in 1990. At least he didn’t pick the Princeton University Chapel, where Jim McGreevey and Jon Corzine prayed just before they took office. All three were one-term Governors. The new […]

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