Weekly Advance: Week of Jan. 21

TRENTON – The halls under the Golden Dome may be quiet this week, but don’t think the lack of conversation means talks are not going on elsewhere that could have a lasting impact on the Statehouse.

The holiday weekend and light – to nonexistent – legislative calendar ensures the focus of the week’s attention will be on what stories are developing outside of New Jersey’s capital city.

The clock for Democratic challengers to decide whether to go head-to-head against Gov. Chris Christie in the upcoming gubernatorial race continues to tick.

It’s possible additional people willing to jump into the race – or decide to take themselves out of the running – may hold off on an announcement this week. However, patience among Democratic power brokers who are increasingly worried about down-ticket races could be wearing thin.

George Norcross stunned a handful of Trenton political wonks when he came close to but stopped short of formally throwing his support behind Sen. Barbara Buono, the only major Democrat who has declared their intention to challenge Christie in 2013.

The highly influential Democrat slammed his long-time foe – Sen. Dick Codey – and stated it’s time for Democrats to rally behind a single candidate.

And there is a good reason Democrats should want to heed his advice.

Down-ticket races could be affected. Even the possibility of Republicans taking control of the New Jersey state Senate is not inconceivable, so GOP lawmakers and power brokers may turn their attention to districts they see as winnable, especially when coupled with hopes of a Christie wave of support in the next election.

Nonetheless, the chairman of the state Democratic Party indicated local officials feel comfortable with a Feb. 1 deadline for candidates to jump in or drop out.

The deadline suggests this week may be too early for an announcement, but with Codey heading to Washington, D.C., to see if he could reach his fundraising goals were he to enter the race, it’s likely this week will be filled with possible candidates mulling their options.

Tick, tock.

Sandy

Another conversation likely to take place in the nation’s capital could be on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a trimmed-down version of the Superstorm Sandy aid relief bill and now Senate lawmakers need to vote on the package before it goes to President Barack Obama’s desk.

The president, who’s indicated he’s not interested in wasting any time in signing the bill, could take action on the legislation as soon as this week.

If so, tens of billions of dollars in aid to New Jersey and other states affected by Sandy could begin moving in the next few weeks.

Any further delay in Congress, and we can expect to hear from Christie on the matter.

The gov

Speaking of the governor, Christie has little in the way of public events slated for this week.

Again, all signs point to a quiet week in Trenton, but don’t be fooled into believing influential conversations aren’t taking place in other parts of the state and, even, the country.

 

Monday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

 

Tuesday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

Boards and Commissions

4 p.m., Site Remediation Professional Licensing Board, Department of Environmental Protection, 401 E. State St., Trenton

 

Wednesday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

Boards and Commissions

10 a.m., Board of Public Utilities, Rm. 11, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

Daily Events

9 a.m., Hurricane Sandy Aftermath Part Two: Utility Response, Tax Assessment, Purchasing, the Environmental Impact and Rebuilding, N.J. League of Municipalities, Conference Center at Mercer County Community College, 1200 Old Trenton Road, West Windsor

 

Thursday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

Boards and Commissions

10 a.m., N.J. Health Care Facilities Financing Authority, Building 4, fourth floor, Station Plaza, South Clinton Avenue, Trenton

10:30 a.m., Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, Director’s room, 2492 River Road, New Hope, Pa.

 

Friday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

Weekly Advance: Week of Jan. 21