News Roundup for Thursday, June 7, 2018

Andy Borowitz is my god, my relief valve, my shot of ice cold vodka: Philadelphia Eagles Accept Mueller’s Offer to Celebrate With Him


We all need a vodka. Tom Moran – Menendez v. Hugin: Is this really the best Jersey can do?

ELEC imposes big fine on PAC run by controversial Democratic consultant, by POLITICO’s Matt Friedman: One day after a campaign in which he managed to make a surprisingly strong showing in the Democratic primary against Sen. Bob Menendez, a controversial political consultant’s PAC has been hit with one of the largest fines ever issued by New Jersey’s campaign finance watchdog agency. The New Jersey State Election Law Enforcement Commission announced Wednesday that it has fined Central Jersey Democratic Leadership Committee — a now-defunct PAC that had been headed by Union County political consultant James Devine — just over $120,000 for not reporting more than $100,000 in contributions and expenditures between 2005 and 2010, and for filing some paperwork late. It’s the third largest fine ELEC has ever imposed. Devine, who was the PAC’s chairman, was named in ELEC’s complaint as the PAC’s de facto treasurer. The PAC’s former treasurer, Charles Betancourt, pleaded guilty in 2006 to stealing more than $50,000 from the PAC. Devine said reporting fell through the cracks after Betancourt stole the money. (PoliticoPro paywall)

New Jersey can show Donald Trump a thing or two about how to run a Swamp. I can’t put it any better than Matt Friedman does, so I’ll quote him: “State Sen. Jeff Van Drew won his Democratic primary for Congress about 36 hours ago. So naturally, today the state Senate takes up a host of gun control measures that the Assembly passed more than two months ago. Van Drew’s record on gun control was, of course, the dominant issue of his primary campaign. And it was surely just a total coincidence that the state Senate didn’t vote on them until two days later. Well, let’s see how Van Drew votes now.”

Midterm Primary: Stronger turnout and more clarity on the likely General Elections results

Alan Steinberg is sad Tom Kean Jr. didn’t run against Menendez this year

Lordy, this is demoralizing, even after watching the “gumdrop candidacy of Lisa McCormick”: The Menendez Back Chatter at Insider NJ

Stile: Democrats downplay Menendez’ uneasy win after corruption charge. Nah, Charlie, we’re more embarrassed about Lisa McCormick.

This is the new normal: Bob Hugin sent this press release, extending a ‘warm invitation’ to the 40% of Democrats who ‘rejected career, corrupt politician Bob Menendez’ in the primary election.

Bob Menendez says his team was also turned away at a migrant processing facility where children are being separated from their parents. Oregon senator Jeff Merkley shot live video of his attempts to get into a Texas processing facility, and NJ’s senator says the same thing happened to his team attempting to tour and observe how children and families were treated

CD11: Mikie Sherrill’s job now: Flip a district that hasn’t gone D since 1982, against Jay Webber, whose job is to keep it red

Like New Jersey isn’t always a hot mess. Battle of the Bobs is going to be a ‘nasty, dirty brawl’

Who’s Up Who’s Down: Insider NJ’s Primary Election Day Edition includes that candidates of color lost big on Tuesday


Charlie Kratovil announces he’s running for mayor of New Brunswick: Journalist Charlie Kratovil, who founded the hyperlocal New Brunswick Today certainly knows the local issues because he’s covering the news, attending the local meetings, and organizing people in his town for years. Part muckraker, part community organizer, part journalist, Charlie exercises his citizenship with passion, and is now running for mayor to fix the city’s problems he writes about. Go Charlie! Watch the announcement. Here’s my favorite profile of Charlie Kratovil (New Jersey Monthly)

The same argument used to push New Jersey’s nuclear bailout bill is being used by the Trump administration to prop up the nuclear and coal industries. Critics say that will cost consumers billions on their energy bills and undermine the transition to renewable energy. New Jersey supporters say it will help South Jersey’s economy.


Where’s your Governor? Telephone Town Hall to talk bucket with New Jerseyans. You can dial in at 7pm tonight: (609) 362-6423

Trying to strike delicate balance on size of state’s budget reserves: Murphy’s plan to bump up the budget reserves should make credit-rating agencies happy but if lawmakers want the money to go to more pressing needs, it could mean another downgrade (Reitmeyer)

From cash to crime, 5 ways legal weed could make NJ a better place

About time.  New Jersey to overhaul beleaguered medical examiner system

Former state senator Ray Lesniak announced that the NJ Supreme Court will not take up the appeal he filed to challenge Chris Christie’s disgraceful $225 million settlement with Exxon on a suit filed by the state for $8.9 billion in environmental damages. Quoting Lesniak: “In addition to being less than three cents on the dollar, Governor Christie’s Settlement lets ExxonMobil off the hook for restoration of natural resource damages at 16 other facilities in New Jersey, at more than 1500 gasoline stations, and for the $5-700 mil. cost of cleanup at Morses Creek in Linden which flows into the Arthur Kill and Hudson River. Christie’s Settlement makes it impossible to restore the wetlands and marshlands destroyed by Exxon which protect residents in Linden, Bayonne and surrounding areas from storm surges which are occurring more frequently.”


No, Donald, the English are the ones who hold their pinkies up when they drink tea. Trump to Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?”

Damn, I think the photo above (cropped from a larger scene) is from Insider NJ, but I can’t find the source this morning to properly credit. Apologies to Insider NJ.

Comments (7)

  1. Bertin Lefkovic

    We can all make light of “gumdrop candidacy of Lisa McCormick”, but shouldn’t we each take a look in the mirror and ask ourselves why she was all that progressive Democrats could muster in this cycle that was tailor-made for a grassroots insurgency and what we could have done differently and should do differently going forward?

    1. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

      Most of grassroots insurgencies it appears were in House races, where there was frankly, tremendous effort made against both party machinery in the CD2 case, and DCCC’s efforts to control the primary by early anointing. In several cases the relevant county committees were also hot to get the primaries over with and decided quickly by early decisions to select war chest candidates, which they knew were also DCCC’s choices.

      I wouldn’t be too quick to criticize ground troops. I didn’t see people sitting back. Glass houses, and all that.

      1. Bertin Lefkovic

        Completely ignoring the simple fact that if there had been a credible progressive alternative to Menendez bracketed with progressives like Tamara Harris, Peter Jacob, and Jim Keady, they would have likely perfomed better than they did unbracketed. Our “gumdrop candidate” outperformed all of them in their districts.

        I am not criticizing anyone for a lack of effort. I am criticizing everyone, including all of the candidates who somehow thought that they had a better chance at winning a congressional primary than a Senate primary election against a clearly damaged incumbent, for a lack of vision and understanding of what it takes to win a primary election in NJ.

        Goutam Jois, for all of his “fundraising ability” (aka loaning himself money to make his campaign appear well-financed and then raising enough to pay himself back) finished in 3rd place and while the vote that he received was not enough to lose the race for Peter Jacob, his candidacy was enough of a distraction to negatively impact the perception of Peter Jacob as the true progressive insurgent in that district.

        Imagine what Jois might have been able to accomplish if he had decided to invest his wealth into a run against Menendez. The same could be said for Tamara Harris who spent over $500K to finish far behind Mikie Sherrill.

        Imagine if Dave Pringle, a statewide environmental leader, had been willing to leverage his wealth of relationships that he had throughout the state. He might have had the best chance of anybody to beat Menendez.

        Imagine if a credible progressive alternative had bracketed with one of the three progressive alternatives to Jeff Van Drew. Is it possible that the other two might have been smart enough to drop out, giving the other a fighting chance to pull off an upset?

        Everyone fought the good fight this cycle except the one fight that could have been won and even in losing might have given others downticket a much better chance of winning.

        Progressives never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. When are we going to stop doing that?

  2. Rosi Efthim (Post author)


    As long as I’ve known you, Bertin – years – you always have disapproving commentary for the decisions and labors of people I see doing far more than I’ve ever seen you do. There are limits to everyone’s ability to contribute toward change, the requirements of family and home and job uppermost. I’m not criticizing you for not doing enough, but by the same token, speaking just for me I do get tired of what looks like sniping against all kinds of people I see pouring out work.

    1. Bertin Lefkovic

      And I get tired of being part of a progressive community that never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

      While not lacking for effort on the individual level by any stretch of the imagination, there just appears to be an extreme lack of leadership and an unwillingness or inability to recognize the basic things that need to be done to create change in general and win primary elections in particular.

      Is it wrong to be frustrated by people who chose to raise and spends tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to try to win all but unwinnable congressional primary election races when the same amount of resource dedication could have had a much greater impact if directed at a Menendez challenge?

      I am not asking anyone to do more than they can. All I am asking them to do is look at the bigger picture for a moment and put more thought into how what they can do might have the greatest possible impact.

      1. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

        You can say whatever you want, and even express it here. I personally find this kind of criticism graceless and unproductive. I know a lot of people who leave their dinners on the table to phone bank, who rush out of work to meet the canvass team, or who take the step to be their party’s standard-bearer. None of this is easy; I see no point in complaining what others are not doing. Be the change, or don’t. But that’s my 2 cents.

        1. Bertin Lefkovic

          I would agree if we actually had a standard-bearer, but at the moment, the only people claiming that responsibility/role are Jim Devine and Lisa McCormick. Are you comfortable with that idea? Neither am I.

          You continuously want to frame my comments as criticizing people who are already working very hard towards the goals and objectives that we both share, when all I am asking is that people think more about why in this cycle where there were so many people who were willing to work against the Democratic establishment we were not able to muster a statewide candidate more qualified than Lisa McCormick? What is graceful or productive about that?

          At least I am not raising questions about those candidates who purported to be progressive yet whose candidacies only served to divide progressives and make it more rather than less difficult to defeat establishment candidates. If you want to talk about graceless and unproductive, we could spend days going down that rabbit hole, but I would rather not.


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