Gussen withdraws from challenge to Huttle and Johnson

Teaneck Councilman Adam Gussen, who last week filed papers with the Bergen County Democratic Organization to run against Assembly members Gordon Johnson (D-Englewood) and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Fair Lawn), has withdrawn.

“Though I have no doubt of my potential for success in this race, I truly understand the need for a strong and united Bergen County Democratic Organization,” Gussen said in a statement. “I want to thank those who encouraged me to run and let them know that their support was greatly appreciated.  I can not rule out future runs for the Legislature.”

Gussen’s challenge was not welcome by BCDO Chairman Michael Kasparian, who as a good will gesture last month stated that he would not field a challenge against the incumbents, who are aligned the Real Bergen Democrats -- a group of reformers that has traditionally been at odds with the larger county party and its indicted former chairman, Joe Ferriero.

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Is Watson Coleman's 'second chance' tour an audition for LG?

Is Watson Coleman's 'second chance' tour an audition for LG?

Assembly Majority Leader Bonnie Watson Coleman's marathon of "Second Chance" hearings across the state is widely seen first and foremost as an initiative brought about by a personal struggle: watching her two sons return from 5 1/2 year prison stints for robbing a clothing store at gun point. But with Watson Coleman's name widely assumed to be on Governor Jon Corzine's shortlist of potential running mates, some insiders see it as an audition as well. While not doubting her personal connection and passion for the cause, some observers see Watson Coleman (D-Ewing) as building name ID across the state and taking ownership of an issue that appeals to the inner city, minority base whose large turnout Corzine may need to win reelection. "In a state where there are not many well-known candidates for any statewide office at this point beyond Gov. Corzine and Chris Christie, she would certainly be an attractive candidate who can go out there and get her name better known," said Quinnipiac University pollster Clay Richards.  "It's logical that she do this kind of thing, and she has a message.  Unlike officials who represent a single geographic area, it goes beyond her constituency and it's attractive."

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In Atlantic County, Formica hopes to replace Russo

A Republican has already emerged to replace Atlantic County Freeholder Tom Russo, who announced yesterday that he will retire at the end of his current term.

Frank Formica, a Margate resident who runs the Formica Brothers Bakery in the Ducktown section of Atlantic City, announced his candidacy with fanfare today at a ceremony presided over by Egg Harbor Township Mayor/former state Sen. James “Sonny” McCullough.  

In attendance were most of Atlantic County’s Republican power players, including County Executive Dennis Levinson; Assemblymen Vince Polistina and John Amodeo; and Atlantic County Republican Chairman Keith Davis.

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Obama picks Montclair resident as Deputy Labor Secretary

Obama picks Montclair resident as Deputy Labor Secretary
Seth Harris of Montclair, who is President Obama's pick for Deputy U.S. Secretary of Labor.

Montclair resident Seth Harris, a Clinton Administration veteran, has been tapped by President Obama to be Deputy Secretary of the Department of Labor under Secretary Hilda Solis.

Harris is a professor at New York Law School and was an official on the Obama transition team for labor, education and transportation. 

During the Clinton years he served as Counselor to the Secretary of Labor and Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Policy, according to an Obama Administration press release. 

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Christie reports raising $137k; Lonegan reports $70k

The two leading candidates for the Republican gubernatorial nomination filed for addition public funds with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission today.

Former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie reported raising $137,322, which could bring him additional matching fund of $274,644.  Former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan reported $69,820 in new contributions.  The Lonegan campaign estimates that if fully matched, they will receive an additional $139,640 in public funds.

Christie, who has made one previous filing, has already received $760,160 in public financing.  Lonegan has received $553,841 in public funds from his three other filings.

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Lonegan camp says GOP avoiding open conventions

Mainstream Republicans are avoiding holding county conventions to give former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie favorable ballot placement in the primary, according to Rick Shaftan, the chief strategist for Christie rival Steve Lonegan.

"This is exactly why we can't win elections in this state.  They don't want any public involvement at all. It's a country club," said Shaftan.  "So we never expected any kind of fair process from these guys, because they hate conservatives more than they want to beat Democrats."

Shaftan made the comments in response to Camden County Republican Chairman Rick DeMichele's decision to award Christie the organization line without holding a convention where county committee members could vote on the decision.  The Camden GOP did hold a straw poll last month, where Christie won.

"Come on, it was a straw poll.  The guy invites his friends and says it was a straw poll," said Shaftan.

Monmouth County Republican Chairman Joe Oxley last week awarded Christie the line without holding a convention where county committee members could vote, arguing that the party had in recent months failed to reach quorums at its meetings. 

Oxley's endorsement came only after current and former GOP officials had a chance to meet with the leading candidates for Governor.  The Christie campaign has released endorsements from most Monmouth GOP officials. Read More >

In Morristown, Cresitello poised to run again for mayor

In Morristown, Cresitello poised to run again for mayor

MORRISTOWN – For several weeks now, the signs have been solid in the form of friends circulating petitions and allies receiving phone calls: Mayor Donald Cresitello is running for reelection.  

On Thursday evening, he intends to make it official at the Hyatt Hotel, according to sources on the ground here.

To some a brazen creature of intolerance based on his stand against illegal immigrants, to others the embodiment of Lyndon Johnson on the local level with his hard mechanical understanding of government and politics and old fashioned work ethic, Cresitello is reportedly ready for a Democratic Party primary showdown with former Councilman Tim Dougherty.

“I’m full of energy” said Cresitello, 63. “I don’t play golf. I’m not into sport. Running government is not just business, it’s enjoyment. When I’m done with my sport, which I call politics, I’ll have a record of accomplishment that people can see.”

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Christie gets the Camden GOP line

Christopher Christie will have the organization line in Camden County - the third Republican organization to back his candidacy for Governor in the last five days.  Christie won a January 21 straw poll of Camden GOP county committee members with 77% of the vote.

"Chris Christie is a candidate who brings real leadership to our party," said Camden County GOP Chairman Richard DeMichele, Jr., "In Camden County, we have seen firsthand the way that corruption and graft dramatically increase the cost of government. We know all too well about no-show jobs and trading taxpayer money for personal gain. And we know that it was Chris Christie who, as U.S. Attorney, convicted Wayne Bryant on two counts of fraud."

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The Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 27th

One night in Clifton: Pascrell town hall crystallizes New Jersey's side of Arab-Jewish divide CLIFTON – It was the typical crowd with black yarmulkes and leopard-patterned hijab sprinkled among uncovered bald heads – Ukrainian, Turkish, Polish – Spanish Flamenco-style hair pulled back and framed by loop earrings and at...

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Op-Ed

White House’s Tuition Challenge Being Met in NJ

By MICHAEL W. KLEIN In his weekly radio address on August 16, President Obama challenged colleges “to do their part to bring down costs” and lighten the tuition burden on students.  The state colleges and universities in New Jersey have... Read More >

Contributors

(8-27-14) All Americans Should Support Gov. Perry - Political prosecutions have no place in American life. Those who use the justice system as they are using it in Texas... more »
(Asbury Park, NJ) -- There's a word for someone who says one thing and does another: hypocrite.  There's no shortage of 'em in Trenton -- from ... more »
    My Richard Nixon Ambivalence   Today is the fortieth anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s resignation address to the nation on August 8, 1974. At that time, I was ambivalent about... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

“Israelis don’t want peace more than the Palestinians, Palestinians don’t want peace more than the Israelis, but I do know one thing: Hamas is a terrorist organization.” - U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9), Paterson.

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