In potentially competitive 3rd District, Marchand wants a commitment from state Republicans

In potentially competitive 3rd District, Marchand wants a commitment from state Republicans
Marchand

Former Cumberland County Surrogate Art Marchand said that Gov. Corzine’s budget address on Tuesday made it slightly more likely that he’ll run for assembly in the 3rd Legislative District. 

“I think his budget address only reinforces the information we’re getting from Trenton that it’s a disaster.  Blaming George Bush for it all is just not going to work anymore,” said Marchand.  “Democrats have been in charge for seven years.  It’s time for them to accept complete responsibility.  You don’t raise taxes in the middle of a recession – that’s economics 101.”  

Marchand lost his job as surrogate in November after a Democratic wave swept through Cumberland County, taking out the freeholder board’s last Republican member and a long-time incumbent sheriff.  But with Governor Corzine at the top of the ticket this year instead of Barack Obama, Marchand said that the district’s two assembly seats appear ripe for Republican takeover – at least if the GOP agrees to fund more than just a token challenge.    

Over the last three decades, the party makeup of the district’s legislators has mostly mirrored the party that has controlled Trenton, with the exception of former state Sen. Raymond Zane, a Democrat who switched parties at the end of his political career.  With Republicans growing confident about their gubernatorial prospects, some see potential coattails on former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie.

“My thought is that it’s a completely swing district.  Who has the majority in Trenton and who has the governor basically will have the 3rd District too,” said Marchand. 

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Holt will not run for assembly

Hunterdon County Freeholder Matt Holt has decided to run for reelection rather than make a bid for the state assembly in the Republican primary.

“We had three good candidates, and we had a decision reached by those folks. I’m not going to question that decision. It is what it is.  You move on,” he said.  “I have a lot of things I’m working on at the county level and I really enjoy my job.”

Holt initially wanted to run for state senate in a special convention against Assembly members Marcia Karrow (R-Raritan) and Michael Doherty (R-Washington Twp.) to fill the seat of newly elected U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton).  Karrow won that contest, but Doherty plans to challenge her again in the June primary, leaving his assembly seat open.  After dropping out before the state senate convention, Holt decided to run for Karrow’s old assembly seat, but came in third behind Warren County Freeholder John DiMaio and fellow Hunterdon County Freeholder Erik Peterson at a follow-up convention.

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Corzine, Cryan and Roberts say Vas should resign

Three leaders of the state’s Democratic Party added their own votes of no confidence to indicted Assemblyman Joe Vas’s (D-Perth Amboy) tenure today.  

Governor Corzine, Democratic State Chairman/Assemblyman Joe Cryan (D-Union) and Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts (D-Camden) issued a short joint statement this morning calling on Vas to resign.  

“These are serious public corruption charges. The voters of the 19th Legislative District deserve a legislative team they can rely on to act with full integrity. Therefore, we think the Assemblyman should step aside,” read the statement.  

Both of Vas's fellow District 19 legislators, state Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Woodbridge) and Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville), called on him to resign yesterday.

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Zimmer announces Hoboken Council slate

Zimmer announces Hoboken Council slate
Councilwoman Dawn Zimmer

Hoboken Mayoral candidate Councilwoman Dawn Zimmer today unveiled her slate of at-large Council Candidates: former Councilwoman Carol Marsh, attorney Ravi S. Bhalla and middle school teacher Dave Mello.

Zimmer said she and her candidates pledge an active grassroots campaign as they battle Councilwoman Beth Mason (who has not yet formally announced her candidacy) and Councilman Peter Cammarano. 

The slate will appear at a 6 p.m. house party kick-off tonight.

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Roberts strips Vas of leadership posts, asks him to resign

Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts (D-Camden) today announced that he’s stripping indicted Assemblyman Joseph Vas (D-Perth Amboy) of his chairmanship of the Commerce and Economic Development Committee and his position as Deputy Majority Leader.

Vas was indicted yesterday by Attorney General Anne Milgram on 11 counts of theft and bid rigging related to his work as mayor of Perth Amboy, where he served from 1990 to 2008.  

“Any time an elected official is accused of using their office for personal gain, it stains the reputations of all of us who have chosen to dedicate ourselves to public service,” said Roberts in a statement issued this morning.” 

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Without Blitz, Democrats unlikely to play in District 2

Former Atlantic County Prosecutor Jeffrey Blitz, a Republican who Democrats recruited to run for assembly in the 2nd Legislative District, has turned down the offer.

“I made it known early on after I gave it some thought that I didn’t want to be a candidate,” said Blitz, 67, who served for 22 years as county prosecutor.  

Democrats were hoping to launch a major offensive against incumbents Vince Polistina (R-Egg Harbor Township) and John Amodeo (R-Margate), but top state party insiders felt that Blitz was the only potential candidate who could be competitive in the current political climate.  

Last month, the Press of Atlantic City reported that Blitz’s name surfaced in a Democratic poll, although by that time, Blitz said, he had already taken his name out of the running.

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Suburban Dems say deal could be struck: property tax deductions/rebate freezes for pension deferral

TRENTON – Key Assembly Democrats this week said they would like to expunge at least two of the more controversial elements of Gov. Jon Corzine’s budget proposal: the one-year property tax deduction on income taxes and the request for property tax rebate freezes for non-senior homeowners making over $75,000 and reexamine alternatives.

“I’m not certain the property tax deduction will be in the budget when it’s done,” said Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville). “We have to try to embrace these things as temporary measures, but my own personal suggestion on how we get through this is we may have to borrow money to get the state through its current economic crisis.

“I know it’s near heresy to say that, and in normal times that’s true, but now we ought to at least seriously consider borrowing. Against the pension fund? Sure, at least examine it. There are a variety of vehicles we have.”   

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Morning News Digest: March 12, 2009

The Back Room

Asbury Park Press corrects Williams error in Christie report

The Asbury Park Press last night mopped up after NBC anchor Brian Williams overreached when he said the feds had cleared Gov. Chris Christie of wrongdoing in a federal investigation, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 19th

NBC News: Federal charges ruled out for Christie in Bridgegate scandal NBC News tonight is reporting that federal investigators say after nine months of investigating Bridgegate there is 'no evidence" that Gov. Chris Christie had advance knowledge about any politically motivated scheme around the bridge lane closures at the...

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Op-Ed

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 >

Contributors

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 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

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