Comedian Joe Piscopo “has decided he will not run for New Jersey governor as a Republican and instead is planning to declare he will jump into the race … as an independent candidate. … Piscopo made his decision because he did not begin the process of running early enough to run as a Republican. … Piscopo was also unwilling to give up hosting his morning radio show … during the primary season. … Because the filing deadline for independents isn’t until June 6, Piscopo would buy himself an extra eight weeks on the show.”
“Opinions differ among Republican county chairs as to which major party candidate he would hurt the most. … At a meeting last December, Bergen County GOP chairman Paul DiGaetano and longtime Piscopo friend said he warned him against running outside the two-party system,” which would “‘likely cause the Democrat to win.’ But other GOP county chairs aren’t so sure about that. Hudson County Republican chairman Jose Arango notes that as a former Democrat, Piscopo would likely over-perform in areas where Democrats tend to do better, hurting the eventual Democratic nominee.” (NJ Advance Media)
“Piscopo predicted doom for any Republican nominee in the fall contest.”
Piscopo: “A Republican, even if it was me, probably won’t win the election. … There is no way a Republican can win in New Jersey. I think an independent has a better chance to win.’’ (Bergen Record)
MON(MOUTH)UMENTAL. “The Monmouth County Republican Party voted at their convention Saturday to endorse” Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R). “Guadagno, who lives in Monmouth Beach and served as Monmouth County’s first female sheriff from 2008-2010, now has the official Republican Party line or slogan in three of the four most Republican counties in New Jersey.” (release)
“The full Burlington County Republican Committee won’t decide which GOP gubernatorial candidate it will award its coveted ‘party line’ ballot spot until Monday, but Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R) appears to have the inside track.” (Burlington County Times)
UPDATED TALLY. Former Ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy (D) “has donated at least $1.15 million to state and local Democratic organizations and candidates since 2001. … More than 40 percent of that money — about $466,000 — was shelled out over the past three years.” (NJ Advance Media)
HOW ABOUT (GUADAG)NO. The Newark Star-Ledger wrote an editorial blasting Guadagno’s proposal for an elected attorney general.
The editorial: “Far from becoming a check on corruption, electing Attorneys General makes them subject to the same forces that corrupt politicians. There’s no evidence that this deters bad behavior. From what we’ve seen, it only further incentivizes it.” (NJ Advance Media)
What We're Following See More »
"Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who wrote the explosive dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and Russia," says in a new book by The Guardian's Luke Harding that "Trump's land and hotel deals with Russians needed to be examined. ... Steele did not go into further detail, Harding said, but seemed to be referring to a 2008 home sale to the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. Richard Dearlove, who headed the UK foreign-intelligence unit MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said in April that Trump borrowed money from Russia for his business during the 2008 financial crisis."
"The British publicist who helped set up the fateful meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016 is ready to meet with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's office, according to several people familiar with the matter. Rob Goldstone has been living in Bangkok, Thailand, but has been communicating with Mueller's office through his lawyer, said a source close to Goldstone."
"Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak said on Wednesday that it would take him more than 20 minutes to name all of the Trump officials he's met with or spoken to on the phone. ... Kislyak made the remarks in a sprawling interview with Russia-1, a popular state-owned Russian television channel."