Left: Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, with Mets...

Left: Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, with Mets officials at the Mets spring training workout in Port St. Lucie, Florida, Tuesday. Right: Mets owner Steve Cohen at the workout on Monday. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

Daily Point

Pitchers and catchers… and candidates?

New York Mets owner Steve Cohen showed up to the team’s spring training on Sunday.

But what made more news was the man who accompanied him.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie joined Cohen as they walked to the field together, each sporting Mets caps and striped, collared shirts, and watched a throwing session.

The duo caught the attention of fans and political observers alike.

But to long-time watchers, the Cohen-Christie relationship isn’t new. The two have called each other friends. Christie joined the Mets’ board of directors two years ago. And Christie’s son, Andrew, continues to work for the Mets, as assistant director of player development, according to Andrew’s LinkedIn account.

Cohen has been an enormous supporter of Christie’s, too. In August 2015, Cohen hosted a fundraiser in East Hampton for Christie’s 2016 presidential bid. And Cohen’s hedge fund, Point72 Asset Management, was Christie’s largest contributor during that failed campaign, giving Christie and the PACs that supported him more than $6 million, according to a tally by the nonpartisan research group Open Secrets. A few years later, Cohen’s Manhattan penthouse served as the site for the launch party for Christie’s book, “Let Me Finish,” which discusses Cohen’s support.

Just a week ago, Christie said on ABC News that he didn’t think former President Donald Trump would beat President Joe Biden if they were to face each other again in 2024. The comment spurred a back-and-forth between Trump and Christie on social media, during which Christie called himself “the target of Donald Trump’s new tantrum.”

Is Christie paving the way for his own entrance into the 2024 presidential race? Perhaps Christie and Cohen weren’t just talking baseball on a February weekend in Florida.

— Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Talking Point

Santos at work

On the campaign trail, George Santos sometimes said that a “day one” priority or “very first piece of legislation” would be banning individual stock trading for members of Congress.

As of Tuesday morning Santos had not sponsored such a measure, according to his legislative record on Congress.gov. But he has co-sponsored more than 25 prospective bills or resolutions, a broad sample which paints a portrait of how Santos might be planning to spend his time in government.

Many of the bills that the embattled CD3 Republican signed onto are sponsored by Freedom Caucus members or their allies, including Reps. Chip Roy, Andrew Ogles, and Ralph Norman. Numerous bills pertain to hardline GOP priorities like building a wall at the Mexico-U.S. border, impeaching Alejandro Mayorkas, the current Homeland Security chief, and withholding contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

None of those were co-sponsored by Santos’ fellow Long Island members of the House, Andrew Garbarino, Nick LaLota and Anthony D’Esposito. The other Long Islanders also do not show up on a measure sponsored by Alabama Rep. Barry Moore to “declare an AR-15 style rifle chambered in a .223 Remington round or a 5.56x45mm NATO round to be the National Gun of the United States.” Santos, who has been seen wearing a gun pin in DC, is one of a mere three cosponsors for that, along with his newfound associate in congressional controversy, Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert.

“It’s the kind of legislative pattern you’d expect from a right wing MAGA district in Louisiana, not a moderate community on Long Island,” said Steve Israel, a former House member and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman.

Santos did opt to co-sponsor a few bills with LaLota, D’Esposito, or Garbarino, including a measure from Rep. Elise Stefanik intended to address state Democrats’ changes to bail. The entire New York GOP delegation, including Santos, is on that bill.

And at least one Santos-cosponsored bill relates to a longstanding personal interest. That would be North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenry’s effort to have the treasury mint coins “in commemoration of the invaluable service that working dogs provide to society.” Santos is a noted dog owner and lover, though canines have been among the issues from his past that have placed him in the proverbial kennel.

— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

Still not there

Credit: Tom Janssen, The Netherlands

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/nationalcartoons

Final Point

Nassau GOP managing the game clock

The way the redistricting process has unfolded in Nassau County, two very important official milestones are approaching back to back, in rapid succession.

Next Monday, the legislature is expected to approve a new 19-district map designed to maximize the Republicans’ chances of keeping their majority for another decade, despite varied objections from Democrats, civic groups and minority organizations.

Next Tuesday, petitioning is to begin in the  first election campaigns for seats shaped by that new map.

The GOP’s strategy appears similar to a football team with a lead acting in a way that allows its opponent the bare minimum amount of time to mount a comeback. Democrats have complained for  months that the county charter dates for the redistricting and the party primaries clash because they were set when the intraparty contests took place in September rather than June as they do now.

The result  is expected to be a court challenge that could alter the map, or the primary schedule, or both.

Among those for whom the partisan battle hits close to home is Democratic Legis. Arnold Drucker, a lifelong Plainview resident who currently represents the 16th L.D.

At one moment late last week Drucker noted to The Point that  his current district “would end by my front door.” His residence was to  be shifted into the 15th L.D. which is currently represented by Republican John Ferretti  of Levittown.

But suddenly late Friday, at the cusp of the holiday weekend, Republican lawmakers changed the districts headed for approval next week. Under this revision, Drucker would no longer face that same problem, but a new one. Instead,   allies noted, Drucker would live in the same district as Legis. Josh Lafazan – a fellow Democrat, from Syosset, who currently represents the 18th L.D.

Elsewhere in the county, a chief complaint among Democrats who served on its bipartisan Temporary Districting Advisory Commission involves the pending map’s division of Black and Latino communities. A final report from their side, which could form the basis of court action, calls the Republican plan an “extreme partisan gerrymander,” and a violation of state law.

At a hearing on the hard-fought map held Thursday, before the partial revisions were released, Majority Leader Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) said: “I think it’s a fair and equitable map. I think it allows for equal representation.” Minority Caucus Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead) insisted otherwise.

The game clock is winding down.

— Dan Janison @Danjanison

DON'T MISS THIS LIMITED-TIME OFFER1 5 months for only $1Save on Unlimited Digital Access