TRENTON – Monday morning quarterbacks abound, as the state’s non-partisan financial gurus say New Jersey didn’t need to borrow $4 billion last year to balance the budget. Of course, when the pandemic froze the state, it made perfect sense to seek a hefty cash grab. But now, with fresh eyes and plenty of new revenue, the bean counters say the impending revenue shortfall of up to $30 billion never came. Republicans, of course, are blasting the Democratic administration, claiming the state ignored sales tax collections, a soaring housing market and a thriving stock market as it sought the mega-loan. The current problem: the state now has billions in debt that can’t be quickly repaid under the loan structure. So, apparently, the administration needs to be publicly shamed for being proactive and protective last year, without the benefit of hindsight. 

TRENTON – Among the countless New Jerseyans struggling during the pandemic has been small-time landlords, who once thought what could possibly go wrong with a nice, little real estate investment. Well, Gov. Phil Murphy suspended their rights last year to evict non-paying tenants and also forced them to use security deposits toward rent. There’s plenty of sympathy to go around. But landlords are now fed up, with a group suing the state with claims that these ongoing Executive Orders are illegal, NJ 101.5 reports. A key argument: many landlords own just one property and need rent to cover the mortgage and property tax. Murphy is forcing them to foot the bill, month after month, even for non-suffering tenants who just don’t feel like paying up. With such a blanket policy, there’s no easy answer.

SOUTH JERSEY – Political observers just assumed the Democrats would be salivating over Rep. Jeff Van Drew’s seat in Congress. After all, the Second District congressman is a party turncoat who went on to become one of the most blinded Trump sycophants, even during the darkest days of the 45th president’s reign. Yet, as NJ.com reports, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is not eyeballing Van Drew among the 21 House Republicans it hopes to unseat in 2022. That perplexing decision comes on the heels of last year’s Congressional campaign, when Democrats blew through at least $6.6 million in an unsuccessful attempt to boot Van Drew in a hotly-contested race. State Democrats are vowing not to give Van Drew a free pass. There’s just too much red meat there.

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BRIEFING BREATHER

In 1920, Babe Ruth out-homered every American League team.

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL – It’s primary time in New Jersey, and that means plenty of jockeying for seats in the state Legislature. Some Assembly members are trying to push their way into the Senate, while newcomers are eager to replace them in the Assembly. While the November race is all about Gov. Phil Murphy and his challenger, Jack Ciattarelli, the June 8 primary offers lots of internal party politics. Five seats are up for grabs in the Senate, while nine seats are open in the Assembly – five of those vacancies are because of politicians aspiring to be in the Senate. Lots of turnover, and maybe some drama, as all vie for the party line – the key to victory in November.

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL – Any veteran politico gives aspiring candidates the same age advice: Always get many, many more signatures than needed for your petition to run for office. Why? To answer, let’s head up to leafy Bergen County, where NJ Globe reports Assemblyman Robert Auth and Assemblywoman-elect DeAnne DeFuccio may have used the wrong petitions, filing general election ones, as opposed to those designed for the Republican primary. Auth and DeFuccio appear to have submitted primary election petitions with 105 signatures for part of their filing, with additional signatures — about 60 of them — scrawled on the wrong petition form. Now, that may not be a problem – just as long as at least 100 of the 105 signatures are on the right form. Not much room for error here, folks. The Secretary of State will be the judge and jury on this one.

HARRISON – It is a new era for the governor’s struggling soccer team, as Sky Blue FC has been rebranded as NJ/NY Gotham FC, as part of the National Women’s Soccer League. Plenty of well wishes for what is the nation’s longest-standing pro women’s soccer team, as Gov. Phil Murphy and his wife, Tammy, hope to gain some regional attention for the team in the big-time metropolitan market. Something big needed to happen, as the media has written reams about the team’s struggles and drama, as well as the fact the Murphys have so far lost $7 million on this investment since 2008, NJ.com reports. A rebranding may be the kick this team needs.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

DUHOK, IRAQ – One great idea for a “Word of the Day” would be “Triphallia.” The problem is: No one would believe it. But an infant in Baghdad is the perfect definition of the word, being born with three penises. The baby was originally brought to the hospital at three months old, with swelling in his scrotum, reports the International Journal of Surgery Case Reports.  While doctors examined, they quickly noticed an extra, two-centimeter penis sprouting under his, um, “primary penis.” And then, wait, there was a third, a 1-centimeter member hanging under his sack. Potential school nicknames of “tripod,” “triphallic tot” and “three-prong” were quickly nipped in the bud, as doctors swiftly removed the two penises not connected to the baby’s urethra.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1993 that Dante Bichette hits the first Colorado Rockies homer in team history against, of course, the Mets at Shea.

WORD OF THE DAY

Sportif – [spôrˈtēf/] – adjective

Definition: A person active or interested in sports

Example: I’m seriously sportif and ready to root for the Mets!

WIT OF THE DAY

“I'd rather have 1% of the effort of 100 men than 100% of my own effort.” 

– J. Paul Getty

BIDEN BLURB

“100% of our nation’s lead pipes and service lines will be replaced—so every child in America can turn on the faucet or fountain and drink clean water.”

-Joe Biden

WEATHER IN A WORD

Sweet