“Undeterred by the rapid groundswell of Democratic Party support for” former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy (D) “in his run for governor, state Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D) said Thursday he is forming a committee to explore his own candidacy in 2017.”
Wisniewski: “I am announcing a team to look at the landscape and prepare to run for office if that is how things shake out.”
“In addition,” state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D) “said he has not dropped his plans to run in the Democratic primary.”
Lesniak: “I prefer to have a head-to-head race with Murphy. … It’ll focus the campaign on Goldman Sachs vs. the people.” (NJ Advance Media)
“The Union County lawmakers plans to file campaign finance paperwork with the Election Law Enforcement Commission by Friday afternoon.” (Politico)
MURPHY’S LAW. “Northern county Democrats came together this afternoon behind the gubernatorial candidacy of … Murphy. … Bergen, Passaic and Hudson all muscled up behind Murphy, with Middlesex and Essex prepared to do the same and other counties also in, Mercer, Monmouth, Hunterdon, Warren and Morris among them.” (PolitickerNJ)
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka (D) also endorsed Murphy after supporting Jersey City Steven Fulop’s (D) abandoned bid.
Baraka: “He is a fresh face in this political machine. An outsider, if you will, of all the power players and brokers in the State of New Jersey, which I think is a plus for him.”
“Murphy began meeting with Democratic leaders in 2014. He set up a think tank with the ostensible aim of growing New Jersey’s economy, but staffed it with some of New Jersey’s top Democratic consultants, including Julie Roginsky and Brendan Gill. Murphy also spread his personal wealth around liberally, donating several hundred thousand dollars to state and local Democratic organizations and candidates before launching a political advocacy organization and then officially launching his campaign in May with a $10 million self-loan.”
“Murphy called Sweeney a ‘class act,” but would not commit to keeping him in the Senate presidency” following Sweeney’s decision to skip a run for governor.
Murphy: “We’ve made no markers, no decisions on any persons, seats or item whatsoever, period.” (Politico)
Murphy: “Sweeney … and I spoke briefly this morning, and we’ve pledged to work together to see that we elect Democrats throughout the state and up and down the ticket next year.” (NJ Advance Media)
What We're Following See More »
"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."