Morning News Digest: March 17, 2009

Report: Cruz-Perez won't seek re-election

The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that Assemblywoman Nilsa Cruz-Perez (D-Camden) will not seek re-election to an eighth term this year.  A formal announcement is expected today.  Cruz-Perez, 48, was first elected to the Assembly in a 1995 special election convention to replace Wayne Bryant, who moved up to the State Senate.  She ran for Mayor of Camden in 2005, but lost to incumbent Gwendolyn Faison.

The vacancy on the Democratic ticket in the Democratic-dominated fifth district is likely to be the second this year.  State Sen. Dana Redd is almost a shoo-in to win election as Camden Mayor, which will result in a vacant State Senate seat in January. 

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George Otlowski dies at 97

George Otlowski, whose career in Middlesex County politics included service as an Assemblyman, Freeholder and Mayor of Perth Amboy, died on Monday at age 97.  His passing comes less than a week after the man who pushed him out as Mayor, Joseph Vas, was indicted on state corruption charges.

Otlowski was elected to the Middlesex County Board of Freeholders in 1954, part of David Wilentz's Perth Amboy-based political machine that dominated Middlesex County politics for four decades.  He broke from the machine, briefly, in 1962, to run for Congress when New Jersey picked up a fifteenth congressional seat after the 1960 census - a new district that included nearly all of Middlesex County.   He lost to Edward Patten, a former Perth Amboy Mayor and N.J. Secretary of State, by a 56%-44% margin.

In 1973, Otlowski returned to public office as an Assemblyman, representing the 19th district.  His running mate was Alan Karcher, who would later become Assembly Speaker and one of the most dominant legislators of his time.  Perth Amboy voters elected him Mayor in 1976, and he served there until 1990, when he resigned rather than face a recall vote organized by Vas.  Vas won a special election to replace Otlowski as Mayor.

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AC Dem committee vote produces no clear winner between Langford and Small

AC Dem committee vote produces no clear winner between Langford and Small
Ward 2 Councilman Marty Small

In their quest for the Atlantic City Democratic Party’s support for their respective mayoral bids, incumbent Mayor Lorenzo Langford and Ward 2 Councilman Marty Small each received 24 votes from the local party committee tonight. 

As of right now, neither man can claim the party’s backing, and organization President Bob McDevitt intends to appeal to State Party Chairman Joseph Cryan about how he should proceed.

Bringing up the rear, Councilman Dennis Mason and former Neighborhood Services Director David Tayoun each received one vote.

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Frank Huttle weighs Englewood mayoral bid

Frank Huttle weighs Englewood mayoral bid
Credit: Source:
Frank Huttle, right, with Freeholder David Ganz in 2003

Attorney Frank Huttle is considering a mayoral run in Englewood, where incumbent Mayor Michael Wildes is retiring.  

Huttle, the husband of Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood) and partner in the politically connected law firm DeCotiis, FitzPatrick, Cole & Wisler, LLP, plans to compete for the endorsement of the municipal Democratic committee, which will hear from him and Scott Reddin, a councilman who has already declared his intention to run for mayor, on Wednesday night.

Locals expect Wildes to field a candidate as well.

Frank Huttle and Reddin belong to the same anti-establishment faction of Bergen County Democrats that has often fought with Wildes.  In fact, Reddin already has the endorsement of his wife’s running mate, Assemblyman/Councilman Gordon Johnson (D-Englewood).

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Budget chairs go after Christie quote

Budget chairs go after Christie quote
Gov. Jon Corzine and state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-Metuchen)

Testing out their attack dog tonsils in a gubernatorial election year, legislative budget chairs state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-Metuchen) and Assemblyman Louis Greenwald (D-Voorhees) each gave a tongue lashing to GOP gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie.

The presumptive Republican frontrunner for governor, Christie told NPR radio show host Brian Lehrer last Friday that “Governor Corzine has the responsibility for putting together this budget, and my responsibility is to critique what he’s done.” 

Both potential candidates for lieutenant governor on a 2009 ticket headed by Corzine, Buono and Greenwald said Corzine proposed a 2010 budget protecting education, health care, seniors, the most vulnerable, and $1 billion of property tax rebates, while executing $4 billion in spending cuts. 

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Sires won't rule out LG

Sires won't rule out LG
U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York) last Friday evening, working the room in Perth Amboy.

PERTH AMBOY – He straddles four fundamental statewide Democratic Party building blocks in Hudson, Essex, Union and Middlesex, and, if asked, U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York) “would consider” running for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Gov. Jon Corzine, he told   

It’s the politic answer, of course, meaningless perhaps in assessing the core of a public will, as it’s the same response most elected officials would give to the question. It insults no one, offers little discernable in the way of true ambition, yet admits a large enough ego - often useful in this game - to keep the option afloat, while enabling the politician to move humbly forward with the job immediately at hand - in this case, constituent services.

In his favor, sources close to the 58-year old Sires note that his formation was as an executive, not as a legislator. He served 12 years as mayor of West New York, which might make it easy for voters to envision him comfortably assuming the role of governor. 

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Greenstein: Christie call for state worker layoffs makes 14th tougher for GOP

Greenstein: Christie call for state worker layoffs makes 14th tougher for GOP

If Governor Corzine's calls for concessions from state workers are a political liability this year for Democratic Assembly members Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) and Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton), then Greenstein thinks former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie's comments about laying off state workers may have made the race much more difficult for whomever the Republicans run.

"It is true that Chris Christie seems to me, in a couple spots, to be taking a very anti-union approach, and I do believe the very people who will be running under him will be in a difficult position," said Greenstein.

Christie made the comments, subsequently reported by the Associated Press, on Friday morning's Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC.

Greenstein and DeAngelo, a freshman, sit in a district that is at the top of Republicans' target list this election cycle -- an area next to Trenton where state workers' unions and private sector organized labor members make up a large and extremely influential portion of the electorate.

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The Back Room

Christie invades South Carolina

On his first visit to South Carolina as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, Gov. Chris Christie stayed in "moderate Charleston, in contrast to other potential GOP candidates who made early visits to conservatives elsewhere," according to an ABC News report.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 17th

U.S. Senate race: Bell defends gold standard stance MONTCLAIR - On the same day he was politically brickbatted by the chief adviser to the last Republican challenger to incumbent U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), GOP Senate candidate Jeff Bell stood by a key plank of policy platform: monetary reform...

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Legislation needed for publicly financed gubernatorial elections

By JEFF BRINDLE It is critical that the Legislature soon enact a pending bill that would ensure the state’s Gubernatorial Public Financing Program is available in the event of a special election for governor.  Not only is there no current legal... Read More >


(9-17-14) Viral Video Prompts Questionable NJ Municipal Ordinance -  Socrates said, “While I might disagree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say... more »
The Correct Foreign Policy – Neither Fortress America Nor Pax Americana      Last week marked the 75th anniversary of the beginning of World War 2.  It started with the... 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 »
 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

“Clearly there’s some resemblance with Theodore Roosevelt. That direct confrontational style of leadership.” - historian Doris Hearns Goodwin, referring to Gov. Chris Christie.

- The Times of Trenton


Who would make the best running mate for Chris Christie if he lands the GOP nomination for president?:


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