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)
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Faced with a choice of Trump's way or the highway, the GOP chose the highway. In the worst possible development for the GOP, Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the healthcare bill from the floor for the second day in a row—even after President Trump demanded an up-or-down vote last night. According to multiple reports, Trump himself called Ryan at about 3 p.m. to tell him to cancel the vote. Trump has since blamed Democrats for the defeat. It's unclear when the legislation will be revisited.
"House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) said he and ranking Democrat Adam Schiff of California have asked FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers to testify behind closed doors about the committee's ongoing investigation into alleged ties between the Trump administration and Russia." He also said former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort will also testify.