Bramnick to throw Saturday fundraising bash for Christie

Bramnick to throw Saturday fundraising bash for Christie
Former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie (with Scotch Plains Mayor Nancy Malool) at a GOP mixer earlier this month.

In what GOP sources say is the first major gubernatorial fundraiser for former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, Assembly Whip Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) will host a $3,400-a-head dinner at his Westfield home for the Republican frontrunner for governor this Saturday.

Sources say both Christie and his political confidante, Bill Palatucci, will be in attendance at an event sources say has already pulled in $50,000 for Christie.

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Merkt would take federal aid and create business tax cuts

Merkt would take federal aid and create business tax cuts
Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham), left, and campaign manager Chris Venis

If New Jersey receives close to $4 billion in federal stimulus money over two years as suggested by Gov. Jon Corzine, Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham) says the money ought to go to plugging the budget so the state can administer business and corporate tax cuts.

The last thing the underdog candidate for governor wants to see is the spawn of more government programs enabled by access to dollars provided by the administration of President Barack Obama.

“The Democrats talk about using the federal stimulus money for public works projects, but I don’t have any faith in public works projects,” said Merkt, who attended the 23rd District special convention on Saturday as part of a schedule of GOP events this weekend.

“If we’re going to have recovery in New Jersey, we need to have private sector jobs and tax cuts for the business community,” he added.

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Peck won't pursue 23rd District run

Peck won't pursue 23rd District run
Bloomsbury Mayor Mark Peck

Bloomsbury Mayor Mark Peck won’t pursue a run for the Assembly, he told PolitickerNJ.com this morning.

“I think I’m going to sit out the Assemby race,” said the ally of Assemblyman Mike Doherty (R-Washington Twp.), who endorsed Doherty at Saturday’s special convention in Clinton Twp., where Doherty lost in his bid for the state senate. 

“It’s very flattering to be considered in the mix, but there are three very capable candidates in there right now and the timing doesn’t feel right for me,” he explained.

Hunterdon County Freeholder Matt Holt, Warren County Freeholder John DiMaio and Hunterdon County Freeholder Erik Peterson are vying for two vacancies in the 23rd District created by Sen. Marcia Karrow’s victory Saturday and Doherty’s decision to forego his assembly seat to run against Karrow in the une Republican primary.

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DiMaio gathers home county support

DiMaio gathers home county support
Warren County Freeholder John DiMaio

UPDATED 

Humbled, in his words, by the support of mayors from his home county as he pursues a 23rd District Assembly seat in the lead-up to a Feb. 21 special election, Warren County Freeholder John DiMaio today announced the names of those 16 Warren mayors who back him.

“This overwhelming show of support I am receiving is a testament to my unwavering support of municipal government,” DiMaio said.  “As Assemblyman, I will bring that same vigor as I seek to return more authority to the local level of government.

“Whether it is the rural nature of a community like Blairstown, the suburban character of a community like Greenwich, or the Main Street charm of a community like Hackettstown, I have proven that I can represent the concerns of each and every one of my constituents,” added the county freeholder, a contractor by trade.”  

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Bauer gets Covenant House post

Bauer gets Covenant House post

Former New Jersey Commerce Secretary Virginia Bauer has been named Senior Vice President at Covenant House, the largest privately funded agency in the Americas helping homeless kids, providing 24/7 crisis care and ongoing support at 21 facilities. 

Bauer, a Commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, gained national prominence as an activist on behalf of families of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.  He husband, David, was killed at the World Trade Center.

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After talk with Diaz, Balut plans to give up governor's race; vows to back Christie

After talk with Diaz, Balut plans to give up governor's race; vows to back Christie
Perth Amboy Councilman Ken Balut says he won't challenge Jon Corzine in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, and expects to back Republican Chris Christie for Governor.

No devotee of Gov. Jon Corzine, freshman Perth Amboy Councilman Ken Balut nevertheless says he doesn't get the sense there's any Democratic Party exodus in his direction, and therefore plans to end his campaign for governor. 

His decision comes after Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz advised him to rethink his plan, and a day after political consultant James Devine sent out an email declaring Balut's intention to run a scrappy, anti-establishment campaign against Corzine. 

An entrenched opponent of Democratic State Committee Chairman Joseph Cryan and a critic of Corzine's, Devine advised Balut to get in the statewide primary, and as of Sunday remained convinced the councilman would remain steadfast in his dedication to a blue collar run for governor. 

"He's exploring a run in the primary," Devine told PolitickerNJ.com. "He's laying the groundwork but he hasn't filed the paperwork. He's running." 

But following a Thursday lunch meeting with Diaz at the Barge on Perth Amboy's waterfront in which the mayor asked Balut to join her in focusing on the city rather than creating a distraction with a quixotic run for higher office, Balut admitted she had a point.

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Karrow wins Senate seat; calls for unity as Doherty vows to fight her in primary

Karrow wins Senate seat; calls for unity as Doherty vows to fight her in primary
Senator-elect Marcia Karrow (R-Raritan) won a special election convention today with 58% of the vote. She'll replace Leonard Lance, who was elected to Congress.

CLINTON - Running as a homegrown conservative who knows the difference between hay and straw, Assemblywoman Marcia A. Karrow of Raritan Twp. prevailed here over Assemblyman Michael Doherty of Washington Twp. in the special 23rd District convention, 195 to 143 to votes. 

Despite what most observers conceded was a sizeable victory in this rural western legislative district and Karrow's from-the-podium call for unity in a gubernatorial election year, Doherty said he intends to fight on and face the senator-designate in the June Republican Party primary.

"I would hope he would abide by the voice of the people in the district," Karrow told reporters moments after her victory. "I won by 25%, and we need to have unity in the state. The Democrats are very well organized. We need to focus on the governor's race. We need to focus on defeating Jon Corzine."

But Doherty said he's dug in to claim the senate seat U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton) gave up last year when he won his 7th District Congressional race.

Although admittedly surprised by the results of this convention, Doherty took a grassroots view of the situation and said he likes his chances in a head-to-head with Karrow away from the halls of party power. 

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The Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 1st

Christie makes his pitch on bail reform TRENTON -In a win-win moment for Gov. Chris Christie as he seeks tough guy points ahead of the 2016 GOP presidential primary, both houses of the legislature packed into the assembly chamber and listened as Christie pleaded for a constitutional amendment on...

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Op-Ed

The health of New Jersey's women is not Chris Christie's priority

By Linda Stender At his most recent town hall, Gov. Chris Christie accused his predecessors of "monkeying with the math" when it comes to their handling of our state's economy. But as the old saying goes, when the governor points a finger, he... Read More >

Contributors

(7-30-14) Who Is Best Equipped to Decide the Fate of the Common Core? - The latest Christie controversy surrounds his Executive Order to revamp the state’s academic... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... 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

"Potentially, we can get this done, because it's important. We get it. We understand it. But there are issues. There's the speedy trial component. How are we going to pay for this? How is the risk-assessment piece of it going to be done?" - Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32), on bail reform.

- The Asbury Park Press

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