PATERSON – It was the perfect setpiece for a gubernatorial announcement with the big fire truck pulled out of the bay and 100 attendant grim faced men in blue who looked like they would tear the heads off anyone who came between them and their equipment, and a podium with the resident white-haired congressman standing at attention to announce a new $7 million federal grant.
But U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9) all but killed the question.
“I’m not pursuing that position,” he said, not in a tone that suggested he hadn't ruled it out completely but leaving little doubt it’s not his focus right now.
He’s a federal animal, with his feet planted in Paterson, or so said the body language and the carefully crafted quotes.
PolitickerNJ.com already reported late last year that others, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) among them, have pursued him, the Democrat who destroyed his fellow party member U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-9) in a 2012 redistricting Waterloo.
His own party leader, Passaic County Democratic Committee Chairman John Currie, wants Pascrell to run to protect down ballot candidates who might otherwise get clubbed with Republican Gov. Chris Christie on the opposition ticket.
“I find it intriguing,” said Pascrell of a gubernatorial candidacy, borrowing an adjective he has used lately to describe the prospect of running against Christie.
He was clear that he feels he could show contrast with Christie.
“Many of the policies of this state have been a tremendous detriment to our sensational first responders,” Pascrell said, slamming the pension and benefits overhaul undertaken by the governor – with the help of the Democratic-controlled Legislature.
“Any time you change the rules and go against a collectively bargained contract, it’s wrong; it’s gross negligence,” said the congressman, adding, “I don’t care how many fools went along with him. I’m talking not just about him, but people in my own party.”
District – not state - wide dominated his answer.
“The point is, if you live in the middle of Paterson or in the middle of Fort Lee, I am going to be responsive,” Pascrell said.
After weeks of speculation, the direction of the Newark mayoral race may take an important turn today as prominent members of the Payne political family gather at Newark's Robert Treat Hotel at 11:30 a.m.
The campaign of Newark mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries has called a press conference at which both U.S. Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-10) and Essex County deputy chief of staff and former state Assemblyman William D. Payne will be present.Read More >
Days Since Last Christie Press Conference (Jan. 9)
Bridget Anne Kelly’s attorney says lawmakers rushed to judgement An attorney for former top Gov. Chris Christie administration official Bridget Anne Kelly filed paperwork arguing his client shouldn’t have to comply with a legislative subpoena. The documents, filed by Kelly attorney Michael Critchley, argues lawmakers rushed to judgment...
By Suzanne M. Walters When unions representing local police and firefighters cannot agree to new contract terms with local governments, State law mandates that the parties submit to binding arbitration. A third-party referee, then, sets the... Read More >
"The governor has allowed political cronyism to continue and even flourish, rather than stamp it out, with some of his closest confidants enriching themselves through millions of dollars in state contracts, and legal and lobbying fees, an Asbury Park Press review of thousands of pages of campaign, lobbying and contracting documents found."- The Asbury Park Press
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