PolitickerNJ News Digest: Oct. 14th

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It’s Wednesday in New Jersey, where despite the Democratic presidential debate, local eyes are turned on our own political drama and state voters’ ongoing dissatisfaction with the performance of our own presidential candidate and governor. Meanwhile, the teachers’ union is again making big contributions to Democratic candidates and a state-appointed commission finds violence is declining here.

GOP Withdraws Its Ballot Challenge in LD38
The Republican Party has withdrawn its challenge to get a substitute candidate on the ballot in LD38.
Despite having dropped out of the race after a homophobic screed he wrote surfaced, disgraced Assembly candidate Anthony Cappola’s name will remain before the voters.
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Rutgers-Eagleton: 35% of NJ Voters Approve of Christie
An out-to-sea Hurricane Joaquin failed to give the White House-crusading Governor Chris Christie a bounce in his home state, where voters continue to feel largely negative toward Christie and the job he is doing, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. Thirty-five percent of New Jersey registered voters have a favorable opinion of Christie; while up five points from August, this is still the second lowest rating he has ever received. Likewise, while unfavorable ratings have improved by four points, 55 percent remain negative toward the governor. Voters in the Garden State have been consistently more unfavorable than favorable toward him since October 2014.
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Fiocchi Nabs Endorsements From Veterans Against Servicman Andrzejczak in LD1
Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak’s (D-1) campaign is firing back at a letter the Cape May County Herald ran Monday from two decorated servicemen announcing their support for Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi (R-1). Citing Fiocchi’s business background and what they described as his “solid grasp of the complex economic and fiscal problems facing the state,” the two veterans said that they believe their fellow serviceman Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak is not as well suited for the job.
JT Aregood, PolitickerNJ Read more

Atlantic City Republican Committee Chairman Resigns
Atlantic City Republican Committee Chair Mark Padula offered his resignation to Atlantic County Republican Committee Chairman Keith Davis Tuesday afternoon, ending a seven-year term.
JT Aregood, PolitickerNJ Read more

Mitchell Fires Back Regarding Claims He Failed Taxpayers
Republican Freeholder candidate John Mitchell has released a response to allegations made by Bergen County Democrats that he did not comply with former County Executive Kathleen Donovan’s resolution to eliminate stipends for part-time county employees in 2012.
Alyana Alfaro, PolitickerNJ Read more

NJ Millennials ‘Feel the Bern
While support for Bernie Sanders among those in New Jersey’s general Democratic Party establishment is weak compared to support for Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, there is one group that seems to be “feeling the Bern” in New Jersey: Millennials.
Alyana Alfaro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Norcross Challenger Alex Law on Sanders, Clinton and Tonight’s DNC Debate 

As the Democratic frontrunners confronted each other directly for the first time during the DNC National Debate, and U.S. congressional hopeful Alex Law was eager to see how Sanders’ message played before a national audience in a setting where Clinton and the outspoken independent will be reacting to each other’s positions on the spot.
JT Aregood, PolitickerNJ Read more

ELEC: LD38 and L2 Lead All Districts With Money Spent
Heavy spending by independent special interest groups is driving up the cost of this year’s Assembly campaigns, according to an Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) analysis of the first wave of reports filed for the fall general election.
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Officials Call on Congress to Reexamine Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act
“This unregulated. It’s the wild west,” said Rep. Frank Pallone
Pallone is talking about the multi-billion dollar industry surrounding fantasy sports. It’s booming, with leading sites FanDuel and DraftKings raking in millions in entry fees. And thanks to a loophole in a 2006 anti-gambling law, none of it is unregulated.
Erin Delmore, NJTV News Read more

Teachers’ union is big donor to N.J. Democrats
The super PAC that has spent nearly $1 million to support Democrats in New Jersey’s Assembly elections next month has received nearly 90 percent of its money from a group affiliated with the state’s largest teachers’ union, records filed with state regulators show.
Andrew Seidman, Philadelphia Inquirer Read more

Donald Trump live-tweets Democratic presidential debate
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has predicted that Tuesday night’s first Democratic debate would be a bore — largely because he won’t be on stage.
So the billionaire businessman took it upon himself to liven things up — by live-tweeting the event on his Twitter page.
Brent Johnson, NJ.com Read more

Clinton defends shift on trade, pushes Sanders on guns
Hillary Rodham Clinton vigorously defended her shifting positions on trade, gay marriage and other issues as she opened the first Democratic debate Tuesday, denying that she changes her views to match the mood of voters.
Associated Press Read more

Christie panel called after Newtown shooting says crime down in N.J.
A long-awaited report by a panel called by Governor Christie after the deadly Newtown, Conn. school shooting says violent crime in New Jersey dropped 9.3 percent last year compared to 2013 and saw a 15 percent reduction.
The report, made public Tuesday from the Study Commission on Violence, credits the declines to a “holistic approach” by Christie. It cites policies such as mandatory drug court and equipping State Police with body cameras as just some of the measures that have helped stem violence.
Dustin Racioppi, The Record Read more

N.J. lawmakers call for replacement of Port Authority Bus Terminal
Two North Jersey Democratic leaders joined state Senate President Stephen Sweeney at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan on Tuesday to call for the building’s immediate replacement.
Christopher Maag, The Record Read more

Judge rules for changes to be made to referendum on moving Jersey City elections
A Hudson County Superior Court judge ruled to make adjustments to the language of a non-binding referendum asking voters if the city’s elections should move from May to November — but only if those asking for the change can cough up $2,500.
Rebecca Panico, The Jersey Journal Read more

N.J. violence commission report puts spotlight on mental illness, gun violence
A long-awaited report from a commission formed in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut recommends reforms to the state’s mental health programs to help curb violence.
S.P. Sullivan, NJ.com Read more

Debates slated in Bergen County freeholder, Assembly races
Debate season gets under way this week, with candidate forums for Bergen County Freeholder, Assembly and several local races all scheduled this month.
John C. Ensslin, The Record Read more

Trenton plans to introduce budget without full council
Trenton City Council plans to introduce its budget at a special meeting Oct. 27 — much to the disappointment of one councilwoman who took issue with the fact that the full council would not be in attendance.
Cristina Rojas, NJ.com Read more

Pension rule still a quandary for public officials
One might wonder what a local councilman who spent nearly three decades in his hometown government does after resigning from his elected seat. For Paulsboro’s Larry Haynes Sr., who left borough council in July, his next step is a familiar one: Get elected again.
Angelo Fichera, Philadelphia Inquirer Read more

Transportation Funding Debate Revolves Around Impact of Tax Cuts
How intrinsically linked is the economy to transportation projects? That’s what the state Legislature is expected to begin debating when lawmakers return to Trenton on a regular basis following next month’s Assembly elections.
John Reitmeyer, NJSpotlight Read more