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Off to the races: Meet Jeff Chiesa

Why are Republicans seemingly ignoring their problems as a party? Ron Brownstein answers: Because of the midterms (in part). “Republicans have a problem with young voters. Democrats have a problem with young nonvoters. That simple equation, which applies equally to minority voters, helps explain why Republicans could enjoy another strong midterm election in 2014 without solving any of the underlying demographic challenges that threaten them in the 2016 presidential race. Next year’s election could both disappoint Democrats (by frustrating their hope of recapturing the House) and mislead Republicans (by tempting them to believe they have overcome the trends that allowed Democrats to win the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections.) It could also highlight one of the forces that is making it difficult for either party to sustain unified control over Washington, even as they struggle to reach consensus on almost anything while power is divided.”

NEW JERSEY: How close are Christie and Attorney General Jeff Chiesa? The Star-Ledger’s Jenna Portnoy: “Chiesa grew up in in Bound Brook with two younger sisters. His father worked at a chemical plant and died when Chiesa was 8, leaving his mother — a public school teacher — to raise him and his two sisters. He graduated from Notre Dame in 1987, and returns every year to see a football game. He earned his law degree from the Catholic University of America in 1990 and a year later joined the Cranford law firm now known as Dughi & Hewit. It was there that he met Christie. Chiesa followed Christie to the U.S. Attorney's Office in 2002. He became Christie's trusted eyes and ears, and led some of the office's most high-profile public corruption cases, like the one against former state Senate president John Lynch. He moved again in 2009 after Christie was elected governor, taking the reins of his transition team.

“He told The Star-Ledger that year that he wanted to help Christie hit the ground running ‘because I'm personally and professionally so invested in seeing him succeed.’ He was named Christie's chief counsel when the governor took office. Their close relationship has spawned questions about how well Chiesa would be able to stand alone as attorney general.”

Warning sign: “Candidates must file papers to run by Monday.” Here’s looking at you, Cory Booker.

NEW YORK: 67% of New York voters support Andrew Cuomo’s push to expand abortion rights, according to Quinnipiac.

PENNSYLVANIA: Rep. Alysson Schwartz (D) would beat incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett (R) 45%-35%, a Quinnipiac poll finds.

And Hillary Clinton leads the presidential field in Pennsylvania, although her favorability score has slipped nationally, thought it’s still at 58% in Bloomberg’s poll. That’s down from a high of 70 in December.