Stender: Marks too far right for the 22nd

Stender: Marks too far right for the 22nd
Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Fanwood)

MANVILLE – Running again in the 22nd District, Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Fanwood) said one of her prospective Republican challengers blundered badly in his 7th District Congressional primary run last year as he positioned himself to the right of the rest of his party’s candidates.

Pro-life and pro-gun, former Scotch Plains Mayor Martin Marks ran as “your across the board conservative Republican candidate for Congress.” 

“That won’t play well in the district,” said Stender, shortly after receiving the support of the Somerset County Democratic Committee at the Manville VFW Hall on Saturday. “He’s too conservative for the 22nd District, particularly when you consider his views on abortion. It didn't work for him when he ran before (in 2003).”

Marks, who along with his running mate, Scotch Plains resident Bo Vastine, simultaneously received the endorsement of the Middlesex County Republican Party on Saturday, retaliated.  

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The Stanley factor: regardless of party backing, former assemblyman ready to run

The Stanley factor: regardless of party backing, former assemblyman ready to run
From left: U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, Sen Ronald Rice, Andre Reames, Bill Payne, Freeholder/Councilman Donald Payne, Jr., and Craig Stanley

NEWARK – Democratic Party stronghold Essex was supposed to be quiet this season as Newark and the environs reflect on a North Ward-City Hall lovefest and prepare for the reelection campaign of Gov Jon Corzine. 

Now the Payne family appears mobilized on the primary horizon here in the 28th District and potentially in the 29th, though insiders say it's unlikely they will be able to escalate a fullscale battle, even if they choose to fight.

After getting bumped out of office by an Adubato-Booker alliance in 2007, family scion former Assemblyman Craig Stanley (D-Irvington) is trying to scratch his way back into the legislature and finding little organizational support in the process with two weeks to go before the April 6th state filing deadline.

Essex sources on all sides say there’s little or no chance Chairman Phil Thigpen will award the District 28 party line to Stanley over incumbents Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Belleville) and Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker (D-Newark) - not in a gubernatorial election year when an unpopular Corzine faces more than a warm body challenge from the Republican Party, and party chieftains are intent on trying to keep his troops in line. 

Thigpen himself is cryptic on the Stanley issue.

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Former party chair Giblin endorses Watson Coleman for lieutenant governor

Former party chair Giblin endorses Watson Coleman for lieutenant governor
Assemblyman Thomas Giblin (D-Montclair)

PASSAIC – Former Democratic Party state chairman Assemblyman Thomas Giblin (D-Montclair) prefers another former state chair for the position of lieutenant governor on a ticket with Gov. Jon Corzine.

He said if the governor asked him, he would recommend Assembly Majority Leader Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing).

“I think Bonnie is good because she knows the issues and has a leadership role in the legislature, she already has statewide reach as former chair of the party and as an African American woman she would help the governor with the party’s urban base,” said Giblin.

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As Sandoval stands at edge of Democratic Party, Blanco stands with Kennedy

As Sandoval stands at edge of Democratic Party, Blanco stands with Kennedy
From left: Passaic Mayor Alex Blanco, Passaic Freeholder Director Tahesha Way, and U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.)

PASSAIC – Joe Kennedy wasn’t in the room but he likely would have marveled at the political challenge.

Quietly wrestling with the karma of what Jose Sandoval’s entry into his party means, Passaic County Democratic Party Chairman John Currie welcomed an opportunity Friday night to reflect on the larger dimensions of his party’s history as he stood beside U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.).

“I remember when I learned of the death of President John F. Kennedy,” said Currie. “I was walking across the bridge over the falls in Paterson on my way to football practice.” 

Still, there was no escaping local politics as the younger Kennedy stood next to Passaic Mayor Alex Blanco in the crowded living room of the parents of local Councilman Kenneth Lucianin. 

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Somerset Dems overcome their irritation with Corzine for dissing prosecutor pick

Somerset Dems overcome their irritation with Corzine for dissing prosecutor pick

MANVILLE – If you have a score to settle in this old factory town – and this tradition goes back a while now but maybe it still applies - you meet the other guy under the water tower, and it looked like some members of the Somerset County Democratic Committee planned on just such an encounter with Gov. Jon Corzine this morning at the VFW Hall where the tower stands on the other side of the train tracks.

The back-story buildup to the committee’s unanimous endorsement of Corzine came with an infusion of drama as party members here nursed some hurt feelings over the administration’s disinterest in interviewing their recommendation for a county prosecutor to succeed retiring veteran Wayne Forrest. 

Not pursuing the committee’s good soldier submission of Somerville Councilman Rob Wilson for the post, Corzine tapped Somerville defense attorney John MacDonald.   

That left a dedicated contingent feeling disrespected and wanting to make a statement, particularly if Corzine was going to be a no-show at the convention. Still others blamed the State Committee for not playing a more aggressive role in coordinating Assemblywoman Linda Stender’s (D-Fanwood) congressional campaign, and the tendency among machine Democrats in other counties to see Somerset as a write-off.

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Monmouth GOP picks Curley for Freeholder

John Curley, a former Red Bank Councilman who came within 346 votes of winning a seat on the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders in 2008, will get a second chance.  He defeated Atlantic Highlands Councilwoman Kim Spatola by a 36-27 second ballot vote to win the Monmouth GOP line today. 

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Christie wins Middlesex with 77.6%

Christie wins Middlesex with 77.6%

FORDS –  Former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie won his 14th Republican organization endorsement for governor today, winning the line in heavily Democratic Middlesex County.  

“We’re going to work very hard here not only in the governor’s race, but every race here up and down the ticket, because it is time to bring back Republican values to Middlesex County,” said Chrsitie.  

Christie got 462 votes to former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan’s 122, Assemblyman Rick Merkt’s (R-Mendham) six, inventor David Brown’s four and Franklin Township Mayor Brian Levine’s one.  

The convention took place at The Royal Albert’s Palace, a cavernous Indian-theme hall  where the two ornately decorated elephants above the podium weren’t originally intended to evoke the GOP, but served that purpose anyway.    

Unlike other county conventions, this one was open, with any registered Republican from Middlesex County – not just committeemen and women –able to pay a $10 fee and cast a vote.  Campaigns could even pay for their own delegates.  That gave Christie rival Steve Lonegan, whose campaign has often complained of a biased convention process, an opportunity to turn out his supporters en masse.  But Lonegan campaign officials said they didn't campaign much harder here than anywhere else.

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Middlesex Republicans pick 21-year-old for District 14 assembly seat

Middlesex Republicans pick 21-year-old for District 14 assembly seat
Brian Hackett, 21, will be the Middlesex Republicans' candidate for assembly in District 14 Credit:

FORDS -- Middlesex County Republicans chose a 21-year-old college junior as their candidate for a 14th District Legislative assembly seat during their convention today.

Brian Hackett, a Monroe Township resident who’s the College Republican President at The College of New Jersey, was unopposed for the Middlesex County Republican Organization’s endorsement, giving him the party line along with restauranter Rob Calabro of Hamilton. 

If elected, he’ll spend the second half of his senior year in the legislature.   

The 14th District is supposed to be one of the most competitive in the state this year, with Assembly members Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton) and Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) up for reelection.  DeAngelo, a freshman, is considered particularly vulnerable.  

Hackett, who ran for the school board in Monroe in 2006, said that he is not a placeholder candidate.  He became the party screening committee’s unanimous choice after South Brunswick Municipal Chairwoman Lynda Woods Cleary decided to run for freeholder instead of assembly.

“I think I can talk to people beyond party about issues that affect people across the board,” he said. 

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The Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 30th

Dems fail to pry sufficient number from abstemious GOP caucus to pass debt report bill TRENTON - The Assembly this afternoon could not summon the necessary votes to override Gov. Chris Christie's veto of A961, as Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21) prevented Democrats - some of them outraged...

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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 >


In tribute to John Sheridan, a good and great man     I first learned late last night from television news that John P. Sheridan, Jr. and his wife, Joyce had... more »
(9-24-14) The Founding Fathers and the Militarization of the Police - No matter what the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri decides, the debate over the militarization of... more »
(Trenton, NJ) --  On September 23, 2015 I shall dig this up and eat whatever crow I've got coming, but in the meantime only a listicle... 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

"When you're asked to cast a vote on a bill and it seems innocuous, and it's got a hidden land mine that perhaps only an expert would see, it would sort of behoove those experts to tell us in advance rather than make us look, shall we say, a little bit indecisive later on." - Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-25).



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