NJ Politics Digest: Which Republicans Play Best With Democrats?

Frank LoBiondo, left. Don Murray/Getty Images

In today’s charged political climate, finding common ground is unusual, but two Republican New Jersey congressmen are being recognized for their willingness to cross party lines and work with the other side.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, once a fan of Gov. Chris Christie, is taking him to task for his plan to raid Horizon’s reserves. And marijuana legalization in New Jersey will take a step forward today, as a state senator is set to introduce legislation to regulate and tax pot in the state.

Quote of the Day: “Embrace your Jersey roots and authenticity. It doesn’t matter where you’re from. You’re in the Jersey family now.” – Steven Van Zandt, speaking to graduates at Rutgers University.

Partisan politics in the age of Trump? These N.J. Republicans work with Democrats
Two New Jersey Republicans were among the nation’s most willing to reach out across party lines in the last Congress, according to a new study.
Jonathan D. Salant, NJ.com Read more

Candidate challenging Frelinghuysen lives out of district
A Democratic challenger to Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen lives outside the 11th congressional district, according to campaign filings.
Michael Izzo, Daily Record Read more

Meet the newest challenger to N.J.’s Leonard Lance
Rep. Leonard Lance, who represents one of just 23 Republican-held congressional districts that supported Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, has gained another opponent.
Jonathan D. Salant, NJ.com Read more

Frelinghuysen talks Washington with Morris chamber
While his organized opposition sipped coffee in the lobby, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th District) spoke to a supportive business-community audience at the Wyndham Park Hotel.
William Westhoven, Daily Record Read more

Key figure who orchestrated Bridgegate plot to be sentenced
David Wildstein, a former Republican operative who orchestrated the Bridgegate scandal, will face a judge next month to be sentenced for his role in the bizarre scheme of political retribution.
Ted Sherman, NJ.com Read more

Scutari to Unveil NJ Marijuana Legislation
State Sen. Nick Scutari (D-Union) will be unveiling long-awaited legislation to regulate and tax marijuana in New Jersey on Monday, he announced today.
JT Aregood, Observer Read more

Rodriguez-Gregg Charged With Marijuana DWI
A New Jersey lawmaker will be going to court to contest charges of driving while intoxicated, obstruction and other traffic offenses following an encounter with police last month.
JT Aregood, Observer Read more

Lakewood busing issues expose private school rides on public dollars
Every school morning in Lakewood, hundreds of yellow buses fire up their diesels and roll out of their company yards into the neighborhoods of the sprawling, 25 square-mile township.
Mark Di Ionno, The Star-Ledger Read more

N.J. lawmakers at odds on school-funding fix as deadlines loom
With less than a month to go until a Gov. Christie-imposed deadline, lawmakers are still at odds on changing New Jersey’s school-funding system, as cash-strapped districts cut budgets — and others worry whether aid will be taken away.
Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Read more

DuHaime: GOP Should Speak Up on Comey
Republican strategist Mike DuHaime said members of his party should not be shy about calling out President Trump for picking a fight with the recently ousted FBI director, James Comey.
Salvador Rizzo, Observer Read more

Allendale residents disappointed that ‘hometown hero’ was fired
Though he may have been fired this week, hometown hero James Comey still has the support of many in town.
Michael W. Curley, Jr., The Record Read more

Green groups stand by Murphy amid Wisniewski attacks
Environmental groups are standing behind Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy after a sustained attack by primary opponent John Wisniewski this week over Murphy’s green credentials.
David Giambusso, Politico Read more

Hey dude, where’s my rebate? Christie and Guadagno have quietly cut them
Forty years ago, Gov. Brendan Byrne began the property-tax rebate program by sending voters big checks bearing his signature just before Election Day.
Paul Mulshine, NJ.com Read more

Winners and Losers: The Week of the Primary Debate Deluge
Among the four Democrats and two Republicans who qualified for three debates in one week — catch your breath there for a second — front-runners Kim Guadagno and Phil Murphy had the most to lose. They gave strong performances and came well-prepared for their brawls, but it will be interesting to see if all the attacks, especially the focused fire on Murphy at Thursday’s Democratic debate, will take a chop at their poll leads ahead of the June 6 primaries.
Observer Read more

Governor Signs Law Calling for Oversight of State Mental Health Payment Reform
New Jersey will appoint independent monitors to oversee its payment-reform process for community mental health providers, an ongoing transformation that has prompted concerns about the impact it could have on local programs and their patients.
Lilo H. Stainton, NJSpotlight Read more

Post gay-marriage, LGBT issues struggle for candidates’ attention
In 2012, Democrats had passed gay marriage, only to see it vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie. Then, in late October 2013 — just weeks before Christie’s reelection — the state Supreme Court made it law statewide.
Matt Friedman, Politico Read more

Sussex Co. Republicans change primary night gala after gas tax rift
The Sussex County Republican Committee is moving its primary night results party after a disagreement over New Jersey’s gas tax increase precipitated a falling-out and an aborted primary challenge.
Rob Jennings, NJ.com Read more

Discontent fuels unusual challenge to Cherry Hill’s political establishment
For the first time in recent memory, Democratic primary voters in Cherry Hill have a choice between rival teams of township council candidates: A self-described progressive slate is challenging the incumbents and party regulars for four open seats.
Kevin Riordan, Inquirer Read more

Stay true to Jersey roots, Van Zandt tells Rutgers grads
Musician and actor Steven Van Zandt called on the largest-ever graduating class in Rutgers University to stay true to their Garden State roots on Sunday, urging them to embrace authenticity and reminding them that “life should never be boring.”
The Record Read more

ICE arrests 208 in NJ as part of national gang sweep
Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 208 people in New Jersey as part of a nationwide sweep targeting gang members.
Steph Solis, Asbury Park Press Read more

$168K to end racist noose and ‘rice and beans’ lawsuits against NJ utility
The Atlantic County Utilities Authority agreed to settle discrimination lawsuits filed by two employees who claimed they endured racist taunts by coworkers. The settlements amounted to nearly $168,000.
Sergio Bichao, NJ101.5 Read more

Voters reject Toms River firehouse referendum
A $14 million referendum to build a new firehouse failed before voters on Saturday.
Asbury Park Press Read more

Cemetery reportedly removes veterans’ markers from graves
Some people are disappointed after families found their loved ones’ veterans’ markers were removed from their graves in a North Jersey cemetery, CBS New York reported.
Sara Jerde, NJ.com Read more

Editorial: In the GOP primary, an easy call: Ciattarelli for Governor
With Democrats in solid control of the state Legislature, and heavily favored to take back the governorship this fall, the Republican Party in New Jersey is at grave risk of becoming irrelevant.
Star-Ledger Read more

EDITORIAL: Christ Christie’s Insurance Heist
Rehabilitating drug users—and one of the lowest gubernatorial approval ratings in the country—doesn’t come cheap. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is trying to do both with pricey new anti-addiction programs, but he’d teach more respect for the rule of law if he wasn’t also raiding a private state health insurer to pay for it.
Wall Street Journal Read more