Weekly Advance: Week of Jan. 28

TRENTON – It’s the week many have been waiting on for months.

New Jersey Democrats are poised to settle the question of who they will tap to challenge Gov. Chris Christie in the upcoming election.

Former Governor Richard Codey pulled his name out of the running early Friday and now all eyes turn to other Democrats mulling a gubernatorial campaign. So far, state Sen. Barbara Buono is the only major Democratic candidate set to challenge Christie.

County party leaders recently agreed to settle the question by the beginning of February, which leaves it to the last week of January to answer the question that’s been on the minds of many political wonks for months: Who will challenge the Republican governor who’s reached near rock-star status in Democratic-leaning New Jersey?

While names have surfaced here and there, the one still lingering is that of the Senate president.

Steve Sweeney has said he’ll announce his decision by the end of the month. But, to enter a governor’s race would mean Sweeney would have to give up a powerful position in the state.

So, this is the week.

Will the party align behind Buono?

Statehouse

While much of the excitement of the last week of January centers on answering the question of who challenge Christie, there are still a few happenings taking place under the Golden Dome this week.

Monday is a busy day at the Statehouse with a full Assembly voting session and a half dozen Senate committee hearings on the calendar.

But more notably could be the Monday deadline for Christie to act on the minimum wage increase proposal the Legislature passed and sent to the governor’s desk.

Christie is expected to either veto the bill or send it back to lawmakers after taking a pen to the language. But Democrats have been clear with the governor: Sign the increase or let the voters decide.

And if public opinion is any indication, a recent poll suggests voters have no problem approving the Democrats’ plan when they head to the polls. (Voters support 82 – 16 percent, including 67 – 30 percent among Republicans, raising the minimum wage from $7.25, a Quinnipiac poll found.)

Washington, D.C.

The New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce’s annual Walk to Washington runs Jan. 31 through Feb. 1. This year’s theme: “Recovery” and “rebuild.”

Assembly session

The Assembly has more than 40 bills to deal with on Monday, including ones that would ban the sale of synthetic marijuana, mandate legislative approval for Lottery privatization, require insurers to provide one-page summaries of policies in clear language, and oppose changes in school funding regulations that Democrats say will hurt at-risk students.

Monday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Senate

10 a.m., Senate Education Committee, Rm. 6, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

10 a.m., Senate Higher Education Committee, Rm. 7, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

10:30 a.m., Senate Law and Public Safety Committee, Rm. 10, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

1 p.m., Senate Judiciary Committee, Rm. 4, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

1 p.m., Senate Legislative Oversight Committee, Rm. 10, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

1 p.m., Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee, Rm. 7, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

Assembly

1 p.m., Voting session, Assembly chambers, Statehouse, Trenton

 

Tuesday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

Boards and Commissions

10 a.m., State Capitol Joint Management Commission, Rm. L103, Statehouse, Trenton

 

Wednesday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

Daily Events

6 p.m., “Killing the Poormaster: A Saga of Poverty, Corruption, and Murder in the Great Depression,” journalist and author Holly Metz discusses latest publication, presented by N.J. Historical Commission and Rutgers University, Alexander Library, 169 Alexander Ave., New  Brunswick

 

Thursday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

Daily Events

7:45 a.m., Annual N.J. Chamber of Commerce Walk to Washington, train leaves Newark at 7:45 a.m., Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, D.C.; returns Friday

 

Friday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

Boards and Commissions

 

Weekly Advance: Week of Jan. 28