PolitickerNJ News Digest: March 8th

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It’s Tuesday in New Jersey, and state GOP leaders don’t appear to be in a rush to line up behind Chris Christie in supporting Donald Trump’s presidential bid and state lawmakers remain at odds over a plan to help Atlantic City and its ailing finances.

Quote of the Day: “Without the governor signing the legislation to provide the funding, they’re going to file a bankruptcy. What is the endgame here?” – Sen. Steve Sweeney, on why politicians should support his state takeover bill for Atlantic City.

GOP County Chairs Look to Primaries, Not Christie, for Trump Green Light
They inch wormed closer as a group, but they still aren’t ready.
A month ago, one their number, speaking on condition of anonymity, told PolitickerNJ that he couldn’t back Trump.
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more

In a Statewide Conflagration, Would Joe D. Rekindle ‘The Torch?’
The politics of 2002 could play a role in the politics of 2016 or 2017, or so hopes former U.S. Senator Bob Torricelli.
2002 was the year Joe DiVincenzo first ran for Essex County executive, and unlike his subsequent reelection campaigns, the first was a real contest – and that’s an understatement.
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Sweeney: Fate of A.C. Takeover Depends on Christie
As Atlantic City confronts running out of cash as early as the end of the month, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) believes that his state takeover bill is still the beleaguered gaming capitol’s best shot at avoiding a bankruptcy. Despite Assembly Speaker Vince Prieto’s (D-36) insistence that collective bargaining agreements need to be off the table for him to lend his support to a takeover in the lower house, Sweeney said Monday that the agreements will be in danger no matter what.
JT Aregood, PolitickerNJ Read more

Weingberg Breaks With Sweeney on OMNIA Plan
One of Steve Sweeney’s closest allies has broken with the Senate president on Horizon OMNIA’s tiered healthcare plans. While Sweeney made his case before the Senate Commerce Committee for the cost-cutting measures Monday, Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-37) issued a statement expressing her reservations about the new plans.
JT Aregood, PolitickerNJ Read more

Stockton Poll Finds New Jerseyans Pessimistic on Economy, Income
A poll released Monday shows New Jersey following national trends in residents’ gloomy assessment of their income and the larger economy. The study from Stockton University’s polling institute found that a majority of New Jersey residents feel their income has failed to keep up with increases in the cost of living. 55 percent of respondents described their income as “falling behind the cost of living,” while 37 percent said it was “just keeping pace.”
JT Aregood, PolitickerNJ Read more

Christie: Baraka’s Stance on Charters Gives ‘Great Pause’
As he stood in the center of a circle of cross-legged children at Newark’s Alexander Street Elementary School, Governor Chris Christie crouched down to better address the third grade student who had asked him how he became governor. Just moments before the exchange, the school’s gymnasium was buzzing as students demonstrated mental math skills, sang college anthems and greeted the governor and other elected officials.
Alyana Alfaro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Baraka Fires Back at Christie Over Newark School Control
On Monday, Governor Chris Christie visited a charter school in Newark. During his remarks to press, Christie commented that Newark Mayor Baraka’s position on charter schools – and whether or not he is willing to reevaluate that stance – gives him “great pause” when examining the whether or not the state should return local control of the schools to the city.
Alyana Alfaro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Bashing Obama, Mum on Prez Politics, Lance Kicks off His CD7 Reelection Bid
The Cronus-like feeding frenzy of its own offspring assailing the presidential field provided the political backdrop to this sedate gathering of western New Jersey Republicans aligned behind the most sedate of public personages, who nonetheless dutifully shoveled red meat of his own into the atmosphere, albeit at the expense of President Barack Obama – not other Republicans.
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Doherty: Trump is the Best Chance to Save a Gasping GOP
It’s so ugly it’s tough to look at times, or so say those establishment Republicans privately reviled by the balkanization of their own party, but state Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) said it’s a necessary showdown, one that he believes billionaire real estate tycoon Donald Trump stands the best chance of resolving.
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Lesniak, Sweeney Clash About Kean University Investigator
Two Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and state Senator Ray Lesniak (D-20), are at odds over the recent controversy surrounding Kean University, a public institution that falls within Lesniak’s district.
Alyana Alfaro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Sayegh Outduels Abdel-aziz with Submitted Petition Sigs
Paterson 6th Ward Councilman Andre Sayegh submitted 1,197 petition signatures today to the clerk’s office compared to the 493 submitted by his rival, challenger Al Abdel-aziz.
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more

A Word About the Late Robert Del Tufo
Former U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Robert Del Tufo died this weekend in his Princeton home at the age of 82.
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more

The Day New Jersey Tried to Stop Bobby Kennedy
It’s one of the all-time Irish American Democratic Primaries: Bobby Kennedy versus Eugene McCarthy in 1968, a face-off that would end tragically – and a politician from New Jersey tried to prevent it from happening.
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Mayor’s Annual Ball Raises $250,000 for East Orange Mayor Lester E. Taylor III
Nearly 800 supporters attended the third Annual Mayor’s Ball hosted by Mayor Lester and Mrs. Bibi Taylor, raising $250,000 and giving Taylor a formidable war chest during his third year as first-time mayor of the City of East Orange.
Politicker Staff, PolitickerNJ Read more

Monmouth Poll: Trump Beating Rubio in Florida
This afternoon’s Monmouth University Poll finds Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) trailing billionaire real estate Donald Trump by eight points in Florida’s Republican primary.
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Christie: NJ Transit talks won’t derail vacation
As two sides continue to negotiate to head off a NJ Transit strike next week that would cause massive gridlock, Governor Christie will follow the talks from a distance.
Dustin Racioppi, The Record Read more

Will Christie actions in Supreme Court fight affect other N.J. judges?
Will Gov. Chris Christie’s moves in his fight over the future of the state Supreme Court affect other judges on the bench?
Claude Brodesser-Akner, NJ.com Read more

Senate President Sweeney says tiered health insurance plans needed in New Jersey
The plan by New Jersey’s largest insurance company to divide hospitals into two tiers has already angered customers and health care providers and now it has split Democratic lawmakers as the Legislature considers bills to review the move.
John C. Ensslin, The Record Read more

Supporters, foes of North Jersey casino referendum spar at Assembly hearing
At an Assembly committee hearing on a referendum to expand casino gambling to North Jersey — the fifth such hearing in the Assembly alone in recent years — lawmakers on Monday reprised many of the usual themes on both sides of the issue.
John Brennan, The Record Read more

Paid sick leave bill narrowly passes N.J. Senate committee
A bill that has bounced around Trenton for four years, requiring employers to give workers paid sick time off, moved ahead in the state legislature Monday by a narrow margin, amid concerns that it could stifle the state’s economic recovery just as it appears to be gathering steam.
Hugh R. Morley, The Record Read more

Lawmaker introduces bill to regulate, tax daily fantasy sports in N.J.
New Jersey on Monday joined dozens of other U.S. states in addressing the issue of the legality of daily fantasy sports, with a state senator introducing a bill that would charge companies that offer the competitions an annual fee of 9.25 percent of their gross revenues.
John Brennan, The Record Read more

The 2 amazing opportunities Christie gave new prosecutor
Acting Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, who comes from a family of law enforcement officials, comes full circle by returning to his roots.
Dave Hutchinson, NJ.com Read more

Take a look at how big a tax bite N.J. may want from north Jersey casinos
It’s been a key question surrounding plans to expand casino gambling to the northern part of New Jersey: If voters approve the two new gambling halls, what tax rate would casino owners have to pay the state?
Brent Johnson, NJ.com Read more

Senators want answers on Stockton’s ill-fated Showboat deal
He was not in attendance, but former Stockton University president Herman Saatkamp was called domineering, foolish and even a liar during a hearing Monday held by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on the ill-fated purchase of the former Showboat Hotel Casino.
Diane D’Amico, Press of Atlantic City Read more

PolitickerNJ News Digest: March 8th