Let me start with the stories the Hardball Staff is talking about: George Pataki, a new Quinnipiac University poll and the New Jersey infrastructure.
GEORGE PATAKI IS IN:
Former New York Governor George Pataki announced his candidacy for president. With his entry today and Rick Santorum's Wednesday, the Republican field continues to grow and could end up being as large as eighteen candidates. Pataki put out a campaign video to announce with a throwback to his leadership in New York following the 9/11 attacks.
NEW QUINNIPIAC POLL:
So with such a vast number of Republicans running in 2016, Fox News Channel announced that its first debate on August 6 will only be open to the top ten contenders at that time. This means that from now until August, you can expect a lot of attacks being thrown within the party and a strong likelihood that this could get ugly. Very ugly. But if that debate were to be held this week, here's who would be taking part. According to a new poll from Quinnipiac University, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker are in a cozy five-place tie at the top of the pack with 10% each. The next four spots are being held by Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Chris Christie. But Carly Fiorina and John Kasich are tied in tenth place with 2% a piece. The top ten in August will be determined by averaging recent polling data, so that should diminish the likelihood of a tie.
For more on the 2016 Republican race, Chris Matthews will sit down with Senator Rand Paul tomorrow at 7pm/et.
NEW JERSEY INFRASTRUCTURE:
The New York Times is reporting that New Jersey is facing a transportation funding crisis that could only be solved by raising the state's gas tax, which is currently the lowest in the country. Even if this comes to pass, New Jersey Transit still plans to raise fares, with some proposals suggesting as much as a 9% increase. Meanwhile, with conditions of bridges and roads crumbling, causing significant and consistent delays for commuters, Governor Chris Christie remains silent.
The Times reports "the troubles of the state’s transportation agencies have emerged as a grinding issue for him, including the scandal involving his appointees to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the growing backlash over his decision to halt construction of a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River."