In what appears to be a swift resolution of a pending primary ballot concern, a Republican challenger to longtime New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith cannot use a catchphrase derogatory to President Joe Biden as his campaign slogan at the polls in June.

The New Jersey Globe reported that the state Division of Elections reached that decision Wednesday, two days after a previous report that attorney Robert Shapiro had sought to print "Let's Go Brand*n — FJB" below his name in his 4th District GOP race against Smith, who is seeking a 22nd term in Congress.

"Let's Go Brandon" stems from a television interview in 2021 with NASCAR driver Brandon Brown, in which a commentator mistook a crowd chant of "F*** Joe Biden" for a phrase in support of Brown.

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The "FJB" in Shapiro's proposed slogan is an acronym for the chant.

According to the New Jersey Globe report, Shapiro does have one final chance to amend his motto. Division of Elections director Robert Giles gave Shapiro until 4 p.m. Thursday to either show written permission to use "Let's Go Brandon" or come up with an alternate phrase.

Under state law, the report said, any slogan using a person's name requires written consent, although it is not clear in this case whether Biden, Brown, or both would be obligated to approve.

Lacking that, Shapiro will be listed on the ballot with a designation of "No Slogan."

Shapiro is one of five GOP candidates mounting a primary challenge to Smith. None are considered a significant threat to the veteran lawmaker's chances.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

Every NJ city and town's municipal tax bill, ranked

A little less than 30 cents of every $1 in property taxes charged in New Jersey support municipal services provided by cities, towns, townships, boroughs and villages. Statewide, the average municipal-only tax bill in 2021 was $2,725, but that varied widely from more than $13,000 in Tavistock to nothing in three townships. In addition to $9.22 billion in municipal purpose taxes, special taxing districts that in some places provide municipal services such as fire protection, garbage collection or economic development levied $323.8 million in 2021.

School aid for all New Jersey districts for 2022-23

The state Department of Education announced district-level school aid figures for the 2022-23 school year on Thursday, March 10, 2022. They're listed below, alphabetically by county. For additional details from the NJDOE, including specific categories of aid, click here.

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