Caruso says he's 99% there on Rumana primary challenge

Republican fundraiser Joseph Caruso said today that he's "99 percent" sure he's going to mount a primary campaign for a 40th District assembly seat, although pushback from Republican leaders has frustrated his time table.

Caruso said that it's most likely a go if he can get $50,000 on hand by the middle of February, and plans a cocktail reception at his Wayne home this weekend to help meet that goal.

"I'm still doing what I was doing before - seeing how much money I can raise, how much support I can get on the ground, and just really digging through the numbers and making sure it's feasible," he said.  " I'm pretty much there.  I thought I would have more time than I have.

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Lipski officially not running for reelection

Lipski officially not running for reelection
Jersey City Councilman Steve Lipski, facing charges of public urination, won't seek re-election in May.

Jersey City Ward C Councilman Steve Lipski, who in November made international headlines for allegedly urinating on Washington, DC concertgoers from a balcony, this week formally announced in a letter to the Jersey Journal that he will not seek reelection to his council seat. 

"I need to step back because I did not manage my life well. I let alcohol, at times, become a fix for the stress I was experiencing, and my poor judgment resulted in numerous problems and indescribable embarrassment to the position I hold and to me personally,” he wrote to the paper.  “I am stepping back to deal with these issues.” 

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36th District: the GOP underground

36th District: the GOP underground
State Sen. Kevin O'Toole (R-Cedar Grove)

Insiders lay out several battlefields this year, and Republican or Democrat, it’s not two or three gulps of beer into a conversation before they spill the strategic terrain of the coming legislative contests.

The Democrats will put money into 1 to defend their incumbents there, and they will try to take down the Republican incumbents in 2. They’ll play in 8 again largely as a diversionary tactic, defend in 14 and – and this is big - heavily fortify 36, where the GOP last time came within 2,400 votes of stripping the Dems of a seat.

Representatives in both parties usually mention the last of these prospective showdowns as the most meaningful, a potential north Jersey version of the 12th District Karcher-Beck war in 2007, where both parties will likely lay down their heaviest barrage.

For the moment, Democrats feel they have some GOP civil war drama on their side, and are gleefully inclined to let the Republican body count mount at this fractious tri-county, multi-ego crossroads of Passaic, Bergen and Essex, before they get in and scrap in earnest to protect Assemblyman Fred Scalera (D-Nutley) and Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic).

Better to let the other side give itself a good going over before taking casualties. That’s the attitude.

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Among New Jersey Congressman, stimulus plan approved 8-5

The New Jersey House delegation voted along party lines in support of President Barack Obama’s $89 billion economic stimulus package.  New Jersey’s eight Democratic Congressmen voted yes, while the five Republicans voted no.


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Bernard Rodgers, former Mayor and congressional candidates, dies at 86

Bernard Rodgers, former Mayor and congressional candidates, dies at 86
Former Dunellen Mayor Bernard Rodgers lost races for Congress in 1962 and 1964.

Bernard Rodgers, a former Mayor of Dunellen who made two unsuccessful bids for Congress in the early 1960's, passed away on Monday.  He was 86.  

New Jersey gained a fifteenth congressional seat after the 1960 census and in 1962 the Legislature created a new district that was based in Middlesex County.  Rodgers ran unopposed for the Republican nomination and faced Democrat Edward Patten, a former New Jersey Secretary of State, Middlesex County Clerk and Mayor of Perth Amboy.  Patten had defeated Middlesex County Freeholder George Otlowski in the Democratic primary.   

In the general election, Rodgers attacked Patten for being a tool of Middlesex County Democratic boss David Wilentz.  Patten beat Rodgers by 20,509 votes, a 56%-43% margin.  He ran against Patten again in 1964 and in the Democratic landslide of that year, he lost 63%-37%.

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Underdog Levine launches gubernatorial bid, promises 'no political hack' appointments

Underdog Levine launches gubernatorial bid, promises 'no political hack' appointments
Franklin Twp. Mayor Brian D. Levine at his kickoff today.

FRANKLIN TWP. - A primitive and superstitious reading of the elements would not inure to the symbolic advantage of Mayor Brian D. Levine, who despite an ice storm and hundreds of dead birds falling in near Hitchcockian fashion nonetheless launched his Republican Primary campaign for governor this afternoon at the Quality Inn.

“I’m never one to pass the buck,” said Levine, 50, standing at a podium in a banquet room here in a Democratic-leaning Somerset County town where he is serving his second term as mayor.

“If my detractors want to believe I summoned snow and ice from the sky today to get attention so be it,” he joked in his answer to a question from reporters. “If they think I put this big bird gimmick out there to get attention, that’s fine. I’ll take it. I have a thick skin. Is it bad timing for an announcement? No. Any time is a good time.”

The moderate Republican’s decision to announce – a few days after the USDA revealed that alarming numbers of starlings had fallen onto Franklin residents’ front lawns and backyards and public spaces as a consequence of exterminating pesticides used on a farm in a neighboring township - was really a simple case of pragmatic timing.  

He had planned for weeks to get in before the end of January.Former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie – the presumptive GOP frontrunner – kicks off his campaign next week, inevitably grabbing week-long news cycle oxygen away from his primary competitors, who now include Levine, Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham) and former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan.

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Rooney prepares to seek 15th term in assembly

Rooney prepares to seek 15th term in assembly
Assemblyman John Rooney (R-Northvale) is preparing to seek re-election to 15th term, even though some GOP leaders have urged him to retire.

It has taken him over a year to make a decision on whether or not he wants to stay in the legislature, but Assemblyman John Rooney (R-Northvale), the senior member of the lower house, said today that he filed a letter of intent to the Bergen County Republican Organization announcing his plans to run for reelection.

Rooney, who at 69 is the youngest member of the District 39 delegation, has served in the assembly since 1983, and has been grappling the reelection question since overcoming a well-funded challenge to his seat by Democrats in 2007.  Complicating matters was a bad knee and hip replacement surgery, and later some fundraising disagreements with the new party chairman, Bob Yudin.

"I did file a letter of intent to run, so surprise, surprise, I decided that I do feel better.  My hip is great," said Rooney.  "The knee is fine, but I still need some work on it. I've started to lose weight, which is very important.  I need that more than anything else. Currently, as long as I feel well, I've got my name in."

But Rooney's letter of intent should not be read as an absolute commitment to running again, even if his health holds up.  While Rooney said he's more likely to run than not, he's meeting this week with Washington Township Councilman Bob Schroeder, a wealthy businessman and former gubernatorial candidate who has made no secret of his aspirations for an assembly seat.

Schroeder has also filed a letter of intent, but will not run if Rooney does.

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The Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: July 25th

  After 'briefly' meeting with Christie in Aspen, Astorino says he can live with not having Christie's help New York gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino's campaign described their candidate's fundraising trip to Aspen last night as a success - even if they will not be depending on the chairman...

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NJ Legislature must get behind statewide standard of responsible contracting

By Michael Capelli As a 30 year union carpenter, I learned first-hand how important it was to have the right tools for the job. Now as the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the 30,000 men and women of the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters I... Read More >


 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »
(7-23-14) Rabner Opinion Keeps “Christie for President” Alive - Gov. Chris Christie’s fight to prevent same-sex marriage in New Jersey ended with Chief Justice Stuart Rabner.... more »
The Perry-Paul Debate is Healthy for the GOP – and for America  The foreign policy debate in the media between prospective GOP Presidential candidates Texas Governor Rick Perry and... more »
(Washington DC)-- Two recent votes on Capitol Hill suggest an overdue and radical departure from our nation's Draconian and costly War on Drugs.  It's a long-overdue discussion (and not just... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Gov. Chris Christie says he won’t campaign for the Republican gubernatorial candidate in New York because the cause is hopeless: Gov. Andrew Cuomo is ahead by more than 30 points. But he will campaign in New Hampshire, over and over, where the Republican is also trailing by more than 30 points. What’s the reason? It may be that New Hampshire holds the nation’s first presidential primary. It may be that he doesn’t want to mess with Cuomo, who knows where the skeletons are buried at the Port Authority. But one thing is certain: Gov. Straight Talk is spinning again. And it seems to be habit-forming." - columnist Tom Moran

- Star-Ledger


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