North-JerseyNews.Com’s Weekly Campaign Notebook For May 22

As we get closer to the June 8 primary election, will post a weekly notebook of press releases produced by the candidates.


Murphy for Governor launched a new television ad this week, highlighting Gov. Phil Murphy’s actions to provide immediate relief to small businesses throughout New Jersey that have been impacted by the pandemic. Through the Governor’s actions, small businesses — and the Main Streets many of them call home — are getting back on their feet and poised for a stronger future.

In the ad — “Bakery” — Renee Faris, owner of Erie Coffeeshop & Bakery in Rutherford, describes the challenges of keeping her doors open during the pandemic, her support for Governor Murphy’s efforts to boost hard-hit small businesses, and her optimism for New Jersey’s future.


I built this business on relationships with people.

Classic Mom & Pop shop.

The unknown factor of it all was the most scary.

I thought I was going to lose my business.

I think Governor Murphy tried to do the right thing.

I think he cares about people.

He’s making sure small businesses like mine get the help we need — right now.

This isn’t just a bakery — it’s a second home to some people.

I’m super hopeful about the future.

Diehard Jersey Girl.


Republican frontrunner for governor, Jack Ciattarelli, released the a plan calling on Governor Murphy to be fiscally responsible in spending the $6.4 billion in federal relief funding New Jersey is receiving.

“While the exact amount of relief funding invested in any of the following can be debated, we need to establish clear priorities to ensure these funds directly address the most urgent needs of all New Jerseyans,” said Ciattarelli.

Specifically, Ciattarelli’s plan identifies the following priorities:

  • To help compensate for all the learning loss over the past year, especially among special needs students, funding summer enrichment and education programs in school districts throughout the state
  • To guarantee schools will be open this September, funding necessary school building improvements (e.g., air ventilation systems) in districts statewide
  • To eliminate the need for increases in any employee and employer payroll taxes, replenishing the state’s unemployment, disability, and paid family leave trust funds
  • To improve operations, save taxpayer dollars, and create a much easier and user-friendly experience for citizens, modernizing state government technology systems
  • To ensure a reliable and safe mass transit system, investing in NJ Transit’s capital plan
  • To reduce our crippling debt and save taxes in the future, retiring any outstanding state bonds that have a callable feature

“For almost four years, Governor Murphy has failed to deliver real change or address the issues New Jerseyans struggle with every day,” said Ciattarelli. “During this pandemic – where Governor Murphy has ruled by fiat with almost 250 executive orders – seniors and veterans died in our nursing homes, Main Street businesses closed, kids fell behind in school, and New Jerseyans were challenged in every which way. As our next governor, I will rebuild Main Street, get our kids back in school, and ensure our residents have the quality of life they’ve always envisioned.”

“New Jersey, it doesn’t have to be this way,” Ciattarelli continued. “We can do better. When I’m governor, we will.”

The $6.4 billion in federal relief funding is on top of all the surplus produced by the $4.5 billion Governor Murphy irresponsibly borrowed last year, which Ciattarelli took action and sued to stop.


The Socialist Workers Party 2021 candidate for governor, Joanne Kuniansky, has filed petitions with 1500 signatures, almost double the 800 required, to get on the ballot in November.

Kuniansky and her running mate for lieutenant governor Candace Wagner were joined at the filing in Trenton by fellow Socialist Workers Party candidates. They are part of a slate of twenty candidates across the country, running on the party’s platform.

SWP candidates organize support for labor and social struggles. Their campaigns are organizing solidarity with locked-out workers at Marathon Petroleum in Minnesota, striking workers at ATI at nine plants throughout the country, striking coal miners at Warrior Met Coal in Alabama, and other workers fighting like the delivery workers in New York.

“The only way working people can defend our wages and working conditions is to stand up to the bosses, build our own organizations, unions, to fight as a class against the class that exploits us. And to build our own political party, a labor party,” Kuniansky said.

SWP candidates point out what working people are capable of when we act together to defend all the exploited and oppressed and chart a course to replace capitalist rule with a workers and farmers government.

Kuniansky and Wagner have participated in protests in defense of abortion rights, against police brutality, and anti-Semitic assaults. They demand an end to the U.S. government’s embargo on the Cuban people and attacks on their socialist revolution.

Kuniansky is a deli worker at Walmart and Wagner is a freight rail conductor and a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.

State Senate and Assembly

In response to recent attacks from the American Democratic Majority PAC, a special interest group led by the South Jersey machine that has been flooding the District 37 race in support of Gordon Johnson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle issued the following statement:

“Once again, South Jersey party bosses are slinging mud and attacking me with baseless claims of corruption and pay-to-play. Let’s get real here, I have dedicated my career to fighting back against corruption in New Jersey politics, authoring landmark legislation, including the Party Democracy Act and legislation to strengthen New Jersey’s pay-to-play laws.

“And to top it all off, Gordon Johnson’s hidden money groups are looking to smear me on my work in 2003 to enact stronger pay-to-play regulations in Bergen County, criticizing me for not simply accepting a watered-down bill that the Republican Party was seeking to pass. The reality is, I showed true leadership, calling on the Freeholder Board to make the regulations stronger and more effective, I wasn’t willing to just take things at face value, I wanted to fight for real, progressive change.

“The truth is, Gordon Johnson knows that these claims are not true, that’s why he’s letting the dark money groups do the dirty work, lying and smearing my character. Meanwhile, I was working hand-in-hand with Senator Loretta Weinberg on legislation to expand transparency in government.

“If we are going to talk about the issue of character in this race, it’s Gordon Johnson who should be answering to these concerns, he’s the one being propped up by South Jersey party bosses trying to buy this election. So, once again, I call on Gordon Johnson to denounce these baseless claims, I’m calling on Gordon Johnson to call on his dark money Super PAC’s to stop spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to lie about my character. After all, if Gordon Johnson was a strong enough candidate, why would they need to lie about me to convince voters to elect him?”


Dan Cruz, a GOP State Senate challenger in the 24th Legislative district, attacked State Sen. Steve Oroho for the gas that he says is causing residents to pay 23 cents more at the pump because 

“$3.00, $2.90, $3.20, the numbers vary around the tri-county area but there are two things which are constant “GAS Prices” and it is not going down any time soon. North-West New Jersey, our home, has some of the highest numbers of people who commute out of their home county to go to work. The people who have 30 minutes or longer commutes already have to take on the pain at the pump that the Biden administration has brought on during his time in the White House. Those who commute to work are spending money on gas, food and mileage on their vehicles while also spending less time with their families. These situations are already not ideal for anyone involved, but throw into the mix the out of control and liberal gas tax implemented by Trenton and you are making a bad situation for us hard working New Jerseyans worse. The Gas tax law was pushed, defended and forced by our Senator Steven Oroho of the 24th legislative district and Democratic Senator Sarlo. Yes! They teamed up to hurt every New Jerseyan. There is no sugar coating the reality, without Senator Oroho’s support and help writing this shakedown it would never have been a reality.

“The bill was a Democratic dream! More tax revenue stolen from the middle and working class folks of NJ that Trenton could spend wildly without any repercussions. Senator Oroho worked with establishment Democrats in the Senate to deliver this blow to the New Jersey tax payers all while trying to avoid his republican colleagues from seeing his true colors. The tax is just more socialist scam artistry from the liberals in Trenton but that didn’t seem to concern Senator Oroho at all. He pushed this bill through as quickly as he could to keep his Democratic masters in the Senate happy. The people of New Jersey are seeing firsthand the product of lazy legislation, mismanagement at the highest levels and swamp politics going unchecked for decades. I have said before and I will say it again: The 24th legislative district deserves better than what we have now. Steve Oroho has ignored the concerns of his constituents for years and instead worried more about consolidating his own power in Trenton, this translated to political favors and cooperation with Democrats to strengthen his stature in the Senate, all at the expense of us, the people of LD 24.”


Saddle Brook resident Richard Garcia is proud to announce his candidacy on the Republican ticket for the State Senate in New Jersey’s 38th Legislative District.

With the State of New Jersey at a crossroads, it is no longer the bastion for middle-class families that it once was.  Over 75% of New Jerseyans live paycheck to paycheck, and people are fleeing in record numbers.  Under the current Democrat leadership, it has become harder to live in the Garden State, even more difficult to find a good paying job, and impossible to retire in.  Moreover, New Jersey was just ranked as the second WORST state in the country to start a business by the CATO Institute.

“It’s almost impossible to do business in New Jersey,” said Garcia.  “I come from truly humble beginnings raised in a large Latino family in Garfield, NJ, I know what New Jersey families are going through right now.  It’s a daily struggle, and many are contemplating leaving the state.”

Richard is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Newark Board of Education Employees Credit Union.  With his unique background in business and the financial sector, Richard brings a different and creative mindset of governance – one focused on transparency and accountability.

“I intend to use my skill set in Trenton to make New Jersey a place where we don’t all just survive, but rather a place where we all thrive,” Garcia explained.  “New Jersey needs to be a state where we can also afford to stay with our loved ones throughout retirement.”

New Jersey’s 38th Legislative District is one of 40 districts that make up the map for the New Jersey Legislature, covering the Bergen County municipalities of Bergenfield, Fair Lawn, Glen Rock, Hasbrouck Heights, Lodi, Maywood, New Milford, Oradell, Paramus, River Edge, Rochelle Park, and Saddle Brook, and the Passaic County borough of Hawthorne.

“This is a competitive district that we intend to flip,” Garcia stated.  “All 13 towns are homes to countless small businesses that have not had a voice in Trenton, and sadly, many of them are now gone forever.”

Richard’s running mates in the 38th Legislative District include Al Mastrofilipo and Jerry Taylor.

“We need oversight back to Trenton, period – a lopsided, one party government cannot provide that,” Garcia added.  “As New Jersey’s 38th District Senator, come November 2021, I will put small business and our workers before any special interests or lobbyists, and put all state residents over political parties.”


Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce announced the endorsement of numerous Republican elected officials across Legislative District 26 – Morris County.

Assemblywoman DeCroce said, “This show of support from Republican officials throughout the district is especially gratifying – I work hard to deliver resources and solve problems. I’m grateful to these officials for their support and confidence.”

List of Endorsements:

Morris Plains

Council President Art Bruhn (R)

Councilman Sal Cortese (R)

Councilwoman Cathie Kelly (R)

Councilman Dennis Wagner (R)


Council President Michael DePierro (R)

Council Vice President Loretta Gragnani (R)

Councilman Paul Carifi Jr. (R)


Mayor Frank Cooney (R)

Deputy Mayor Rich Cook (R)

Committeeman Richard Conklin (R)

Committeeman Matthew Kayne (R)


Mayor Eric Wilsusen (R)

Council President Melissa Senatore (R)

Council Vice President Jay Dunham (R)

Councilman Josh Kalish (R)

Councilman Bob Birmingham (R)

Councilman Ron Smith (R)


Mayor James Freda (R)

Council President Vincent Russo (R)

Councilman Robert Roy (R)

Councilman Sean Mabey (R)

Councilman James Lorkowski (R)

Councilman Randall Charles (R)

Councilman Bill Yago (R)


Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-11) released the following statement announcing her endorsement of Armando Fontoura’s campaign for reelection as Essex County Sheriff.

“Reinforced by his years of law enforcement experience in Newark, Sheriff Fontoura came to the Essex County Sheriff’s Office with the mindset to improve the department, a reason why the voters have reelected him time and time again. Under Sheriff Fontoura’s lead, Essex County has made strides to reduce crime, revitalize court security, and get guns off the streets. As a former federal prosecutor and Gun Sense Candidate, I am proud to work with and join Sheriff Fontoura in his relentless calls for gun reform.

“Sheriff Fontoura and his office have played a critical role in Essex County’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Through his support, Essex County has been a national model in testing and vaccinating, a testament to his leadership and vigilance. It is for these reasons that I announce my endorsement of Sheriff Armando Fontoura’s reelection as Essex County Sheriff.”


Sean Connelly, a former Chairman of the Hudson County Republican Party, endorsed Joshua Sotomayor Einstein, the candidate for GOP County Chair running to unseat Jose Arango who has held the spot for over a decade on behalf of the Democrats he works for. 

Connelly stated, “Einstein has been the real Republican leader in our county, it’s time we retire Arango’s efforts working for Democrats and let Einstein build the county party.”

Connelly continued, “Einstein has been the most vocal advocate in our county for election honesty and integrity and commonsense conservative/liberty values; he has volunteered to help similarly minded groups get their message to the public; written numerous press releases and op-eds articulating our GOP perspective, and organized many Republican events engaging the public and spreading the Republican message. Contrast his efforts to grow the Republican Party with Arango’s efforts to help the Democrats he works for and there is no comparison, Einstein should be county GOP chairman.”

On the endorsement by Connelly, Sotomayor Einstein stated, “I am honored that Sean Connelly, who has been a well-known advocate for the people in Hudson County and has years of grassroots leadership experience in the GOP, is supporting the campaign to turn the Hudson County GOP from a do-nothing organization under Arango to an activist Republican movement.” 

Sotomayor Einstein continued, “it’s time for new leadership; together we can make the Hudson County Republican Party great again!”


New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Colligan announced that the State PBA is joining the Essex County PBA Conference in endorsing John Arnold as the next Essex County Sheriff.

Arnold is challenging Armando Fontoura in the upcoming Democratic primary on June 8.

The NJ State PBA represents 33,000+ law enforcement officers throughout the state.

“John Arnold has excellent law enforcement experience having served in the state’s biggest city as Newark’s Deputy Police Director. With low morale penetrating state, local and county law enforcement ranks, Deputy Director Arnold is the right candidate to lead the men and women serving in the Essex County Sheriff’s Office. He has the skills and experience to restore public trust in law enforcement while meeting the challenges facing county officers,” said Patrick Colligan.

Career law enforcement officer and United States Marine Arnold – son of a Newark Police Officer – wants to be the first African American sheriff of Essex County.

“We know we can do better policing in our communities,” Arnold said.

The off-the-line, line C candidate in the June 8th Democratic Primary recalled accompanying then-South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka to a county commissioners’ meeting where Baraka pleaded with elected officials to deliver resources into the south ward of Newark. Politics, said Arnold, always played a role in resource distribution.

Through the years, “I would see the sheriff’s department in the north ward but not the central, west and central,” said the candidate. “You always take care of home. You don’t disregard other areas but the sheriff’s office is not visible in [important locations within the Newark community].”

Arnold is running against incumbent Sheriff Fontoura, the longest-serving sheriff in Essex County history, who first took on the job in 1990.

Arnold said the deep divide between the African-American community and law enforcement makes now the right time for Essex to elect a new sheriff.

“If they saw John Arnold, who grew up in the City of Newark … that’s an inspiration for a lot of men and women,” the candidate told InsiderNJ. “I know the issues and the conversations, and when it comes to law enforcement – it’s overdue.”


The Hoboken Police Superior Officers Association announced its endorsement of Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla for re-election.

“We know first-hand how committed Mayor Bhalla is to protecting the health and safety of Hoboken residents and ensuring the improvement of policing standards,” said Lieutenant Ed Drishti, President of the Hoboken Police Superior Officers Association. “His proactive and effective leadership on COVID-19 and on reducing crime demonstrates that he is the right man for the job. His ongoing support of our police department and its leadership has allowed seamless transition into new policies and addressing growing community needs. We enthusiastically back Ravi Bhalla for re-election.”

Mayor Bhalla said, “I am honored to be recognized by the Hoboken Police Superior Officers Association and look forward to continuing to work together to keep our residents safe.”

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