ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL - There's a new governor in town, and very soon New Jersey will be debating a very different agenda. Rather than the conservative policies of the last eight years, designed to appease Iowa corn farmers and, then, orange-faced Presidents, New Jersey will be welcoming a new era of progressive politics. Phil Murphy will be talking about legalizing marijuana, instituting a $15 an hour minimum wage, protecting undocumented immigrants, tightening gun control laws and fighting the Trump agenda. It's the type of agenda that sickens the traditional card-carrying Republican, now already contemplating who can possibly beat the Democrat in 2021.

ATLANTIC CITY - Members of the New Jersey Education Associationwill be flocking to their annual convention tomorrow, with many perhaps asking why their union spent more than $5 million of their money in an attempt to unseat the most powerful guy in the State Senate, Steve Sweeney. And maybe the leadership will have some great talking points about how the strategy all made perfect sense, and is part of fulfilling the overall mission of serving teachers. And maybe all these teachers will raise skeptical eyebrows in unison, as Sweeney easily defeated their candidate by 18 percentage points. And, in the end, what does it mean for the NJEA's stature on West State Street? 

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ATLANTIC COUNTY - Republican Freeholder John Carmen, whose recent hits include wearing a jacket with a patch of an American flag covering the northern portion of the state and a Confederate flag covering the central and southern portions, and who famously asked on social media if "the women's march [will] end in time for them to cook dinner?" is now history. He lost his reelection bid Tuesday by nearly 1,000 votes out of about 14,000, according to the Press of Atlantic City. The victor? Ashley Bennett, 32, a woman who declared simply that "people want change." Or maybe a candidate whose mind is in the 21stcentury.

TINTON FALLS - A 93-year-old World War II vet ousted the incumbent mayor in perhaps one of the biggest, unnoticed upsets yesterday. The vet, Vito Perillo, served in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific, jumped into the nonpartisan race because of a pair of whistleblower lawsuits against the police department that were settled for more than $1 million in taxpayer dollars, according to the Asbury Park Press. Perillo's experience in theater of war will surely prepare him for countless municipal meetings, debates over snow removal and an often fickle electorate. 

BEDMINSTER - Now the people of South Korea also know about the spectacular, one-of-a-kind golf course in central New Jersey.  In a big-time speech to members of South Korea's legislature, the leader of the free world could not help but name-drop his business interest in Bedminster.  "Korean golfers are some of the best on Earth," Trump said. "In fact, and you know what I'm going to say, the Women's U.S. Open was held this year at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., and it just happened to be won by a great Korean golfer." Trump, always the esteemed diplomat, added "Congratulations, that's really something."


ADA, OKLA. - Tensions had been brewing at the County Hills Mobile Home Park "for weeks" over an occupancy dispute. So, Donald Gaither, 49, decided to settle the score with his neighbor like any reasonable adult: taping porn magazines to his body as some sort of body armor and challenging his neighbor to a knife fight, KXII News 12 reports. When asked the obvious question of "why?", Gaither responded that he "had been to prison before, and that's how [prisoners] protect themselves in a fight." Um, OK. Pontotoc County Sheriff Jon Christian, truly a master of understatement, described the suspect as "somewhat intoxicated" and expressed gratitude nobody was hurt. 


It was this day in 1988 that George Bush easily defeats Michael Dukakis for the Presidency. Never underestimate the ramifications of one awful, campaign photo.


Mandarin - [MAN-drin] - adjective

Definition: Of, relating to, or typical of a public official in the Chinese Empire of any of nine superior grades

Example:  Does the governor-elect's voice attain a richly spun, mandarin quality?