As we get closer to the Nov. 3 general election, will post a weekly notebook of actions of the candidates.


American voters are split on the general question of whether the U.S. Senate should consider a nominee for the Supreme Court at the very end of a president’s term (47%) or if this should be put on hold until after the election (49%). Public sentiment on this question is different from March 2016 when a similar court vacancy occurred. Then, a clear majority (57%) of voters said the Senate should vet a nominee versus 39% who said the process should be put on hold.

In what should come as no surprise, 83% of Republicans say such a nomination should move forward today, although only 36% of GOP voters felt this way a little over four years ago when Barack Obama was president. Likewise, just 16% of Democrats approve of considering a nominee now even though 74% felt that way in 2016. Among independents, 48% say a nomination late in the president’s term should be considered, although this number is somewhat lower than independents felt four years ago (60%).

When asked specifically about the current vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 46% of voters approve and 51% disapprove President Donald Trump trying to fill it before the election. However, that opinion is basically flipped when voters are asked if the Senate should hold hearings on his nominee – 53% say it should and 43% say it should not. In 2016, 73% of voters said that the Senate should hold hearings on Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland. Monmouth Polling Institute 

President Donald Trump is drawing more support than in 2016 among Hispanic voters and the white working class, while Joe Biden is doing better than the prior Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, among seniors and white college graduates.

Add up the changes in voter preferences, as recorded by Wall Street Journal/NBC News polls this month and in September of 2016, and the result shows Biden holding a larger lead today than did Clinton when she faced President Trump four years ago—an 8-point lead for Biden in September, compared with 5 points for Clinton. Biden is also in a stronger position in many battleground state polls than was Clinton.

To Micah Roberts, a Republican pollster who works on the Journal/NBC News poll, the main contours of the electorate have changed little since 2016, and some factors, such as a more unified GOP base, are helping the president.

President Trump in September had the support of 91% of Republicans in Journal/NBC polling, compared with 85% at this point in 2016. Negative views of the president outweighed positive ones by 11 percentage points in September, compared with 33 points in 2016.

“Nothing that’s happened in the last three years has budged Donald Trump’s job approval rating,” said Mr. Roberts. “It’s low. But he won with a low image. He won with no Democratic support.”

Biden is also exceeding Clinton’s lead in many polls of competitive states. “Step back and look at the averages and squint at them, and basically what you see is that Biden is in a better position than Clinton,’’ consistent with his slightly larger advantage in national surveys, Mr. Blumenthal said.

In combined polling of six battleground states—Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina and Arizona—Mr. Biden holds a lead of 3.6 percentage points, compared with 1.5 points for Mrs. Clinton at a similar point four years ago, Real Clear Politics aggregates show. The Wall Street Journal


This week, Gottheimer for Congress released a new ad, entitled “Jack.” Featuring Fifth District resident Jack Allard and his mother, Genny, the spot tells the story of Jack Allard’s near-death COVID experience and Josh Gottheimer’s fight to help his family get Allard approved for life-saving medication. 

“No family should have to go through what the Allards went through. When I learned of Jack’s situation, my heart broke for him and his family. When I learned the medication that could save Jack’s life was stuck in bureaucratic red tape, I got angry, to say the least. Working together, we helped the Allards cut through the red tape and fought the drug company to get Jack approved for Remdesivir, and I’m elated that he is doing so much better. It’s truly a miracle.  

I’ll never forget my first phone call with Jack and his mom, a true hero, after he got out of the hospital. It brought some light to what has been a very dark time for far too many families in our community. I will always fight to help the families in northern New Jersey. It’s my job and an honor,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer.  Josh4Congress

The YouTube clip is right to the point. Rosemary Becchi, the Republican candidate in CD-11, says simply she wants to see the ACA “eliminated.”

The context of the clip is unclear, but it’s no surprise that Democrats are circulating it and suggesting that Becchi “wants to rip away your health care … during a pandemic?”

Becchi is challenging incumbent Mikie Sherrill in a mostly suburban district spanning parts of Essex, Morris Passaic and Sussex counties.

Her campaign dispatched a statement saying that Becchi supports preserving coverage for pre-existing conditions and children on their parents’ policies until age 26.

“My daughter has a pre-existing condition – she was born with her esophagus not connected to her stomach and it has resulted in a lifetime of developmental and health issues,” the statement said.

The statement then added that Becchi doesn’t agree with “turning health care over to the government,” and expressed concerns that the Sherrill-Nancy Pelosi approach will “ruin Medicare for seniors, double your taxes and give free healthcare to illegal immigrants.”

The Democrats’ statement says that 315,000 residents in the district have pre-existing conditions and that 27,000 have secured health insurance through the ACA. The point is obvious – eliminating the ACA puts their coverage at risk.

Most polls, generally speaking, indicate that voters see the Democrats’ approach to health care as preferable to the GOP.  So this can be treacherous terrain for Republicans. NJ Insider

Republican House candidate Rosemary Becchi launched a second television spot of the cycle.

The ad, titled “Train Ride, shows Becchi standing near a set of train tracks as she attacks Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-11), claiming the first-term congresswoman backed the defund the police movement.

Script: A short train ride over the Hudson,  New York is beset by gun violence and rioting. A longer train ride down to Washington, That’s where Mikie Sherrill embraced Nancy Pelosi and the Defund the Police Movement. Voting to allow criminals to sue our police for doing their job. Mikie Sherrill talks tough but makes us less safe. We need to protect New Jersey families. I’m Rosemary Becchi and I approve this message.

As the Republican talks, images of rioting during Black Lives Matter protests in New York flash on screen before resolving into a grainy image of a beaming Sherrill next to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cali.).

The ad references Sherrill’s vote on the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, which, among other things, would remove qualified immunity in civil cases for law enforcement officials.

Frank Pallotta, Republican Candidate for Congress in NJ-5 held a Telephone Town Hall to discuss how Governor Phil Murphy’s Executive Order 103 resulted in 7,000 nursing and veterans’ home residents’ deaths, and why Congressman Josh Gottheimer continues to ignore the facts and defend Murphy.

The 11,000 NJ-5 residents that participated in the Town Hall listened to special guest, Jennifer Jean Miller, the journalist who is known for breaking the story of the COVID-19 scandal in northwest New Jersey.

Pallotta answered questions having to do with a myriad of related topics, such as the Vote-by-Mail Executive Order signed by the Governor, restricting the use of voting machines and mailing a ballot to every registered household in the state. His answer to a question was as follows: 

“The data indicates we should be opened up almost fully at this point. The Governor is keeping this state closed, in my mind, for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, vote by mail… He’s keeping this state closed so he can push this vote by mail initiative down the throats of Republicans. Why? Because Democrats tend to vote by mail more than Republicans.”

The lack of COVID-19 funding for Sussex and Warren Counties in the first version of the CARES Act, as well as relief for struggling small businesses and the unemployed were also among the topics addressed. Press Release

The Law Firm of Ertman Dulis & Helisek PLLC sent letters to the Boards of Elections in Passaic, Sussex, Essex and Morris Counties today asking specific questions about voting practices, procedures and security on behalf of Rosemary Becchi, candidate for Congress in New Jersey’s 11th District.

 “Clearly many New Jerseyans are concerned about the process and the motivation behind this mail-in voting process this year- as is evidenced by two separate lawsuits that have been filed to date” explained Rosemary Becchi. “It’s my job to give a voice- and a megaphone- to voters who are feeling disenfranchised right now. I urge those who feel most frustrated to fill in their ballots and vote for candidates who will advocate for you in New Jersey and in Washington. I promise to fight for those who feel frustrated and unheard right now.”

Attorney John C. Ertman, who signed the letter sent on behalf of the campaign, reinforced Becchi’s message. “Everyone agrees that the accuracy and the integrity of the election needs to be rigorously safeguarded, and that there ought to be a maximum transparency as to protections the Boards (of Elections) intend to use to make sure all votes are properly counted.” Ertman’s letter includes 12 questions about the process, safety and security of the voting process that was mandated by Governor Murphy on August 14, 2020. The questions include clarification on the security of the drop boxes, the process for transportation and storage of ballots, the remedy for multiple ballot issues, and the process of signature verification. The full letter is attached for reference.

Separately, the Becchi Campaign applauded the lawsuit that was filed last week by the Monmouth County Republican Committee against Tahesha Way, in her official capacity as Secretary of State of New Jersey. The complaint alleges that the absence of rules around the voting procedures “creates a scenario where chaos will abound, inconsistent procedures may be employed at different polling locations and where no person or entity will be held responsible if lawful votes are rejected or illegal votes are received.”

However, Rosemary Becchi is urging voters to mail in their ballots while she fights to make sure every vote counts and that the process is fair, legal and representative of all voters in New Jersey. “While this Mail-in Ballot process may seem cumbersome, unfair or unnecessary, we need to vote in the only way possible for this election and that is the mail-in ballot.”

The Becchi campaign has set up an email account to receive information from voters who are receiving multiple ballots and those who are aware of questionable voting practices. The email is:


A press release from Darcy Draeger challenges State Senator Tony Bucco and Assemblywoman Aura Dunn for not taking a position on President Trump’s tax returns while making it a centerpiece in their campaign against Draeger. 

To date, what they have actually done is deliberately misrepresent the legal and ethical use of New Jersey’s farmland tax assessment program for their own partisan political gain.

If they are truly invested in fighting against “big tax breaks for the well-to-do” and making sure the rich and well-connected aren’t “sticking us with a higher tax bill” today they must denounce President Donald Trump for his systemic and illegal tax avoidance.

Newly acquired records show that President Trump has been gaming the tax system for decades, using questionable, potentially illegal, measures to avoid paying his fair share.

And when he finally did have to pay up after being elected, what did this billionaire’s team of accountants claim he owed? A mere $750.

Adding insult to injury, Trump also wrongly deducted personal expenses like his homes, personal travel, and $70,000 in hairstyling to reduce his bill, and funneled millions of tax-free dollars to his children by mislabeling the transactions as “consulting fees.”

If you or I did this, we’d face hefty fines and jail time.

Our social contract fails if there are no consequences for fraud or criminal behavior (particularly for white collar crime, which remains chronically underprosecuted). Tax avoidance hurts us all and damages our government and its ability to serve the people.

Trump’s decades of fraud and double-dealing has cheated hard-working, honest taxpayers, and deprived New Jersey of revenue that could support purchasing critical PPE for our hospitals, expand addiction and recovery programs, or help to fully fund our schools.

As both candidates and sitting members of the legislature, Senator Bucco and Assemblywoman Dunn have a moral and ethical obligation to call out a member of their own party who has been blatantly defrauding their own constituents and harming New Jersey’s best interests. NJInsider

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