Saturday is Election Day in 39th

A key vote is scheduled for Saturday in Bergen County, where Republicans in the 39th district will pick a new Assemblyman to replace John Rooney.  Rooney, who has served in the Legislature since 1983, announced this week that he will not seek re-election.  Democrats have not won this district since 1977.

Four Republicans are seeking the endorsement of the Northeast Republican Organization (NERO): Assemblywoman Charlotte Vandervalk (R-Montvale), Washington Township Committeeman Robert Schroeder, former River Edge Councilman John Felice, and Harrington Park Councilman Thomas Bettancourt.  The Bergen County Republican Organization will award the organization line to the winner of the NERO convention.

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Limbaugh lacks support in New Jersey

Limbaugh lacks support in New Jersey
Credit: Getty Images
Rush Limbaugh

Republican radio personality Rush Limbaugh, arguably the president’s most high profile antagonist, registered a 19% favorability rating among those 89% of New Jersey respondents who said they had heard of Limbaugh, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll released today.

Limbaugh made news headlines when he said he hoped President Barack Obama would fail, then amplified his critique during an hour-long pump-up-the troops rally at a conservative venue last month. 

According to the FDU poll, 46% say they have an unfavorable view of the movement conservative and just 7% of voters who like Limbaugh also say they approve of Obama’s job performance. 

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Cryan alleges lawsuit against Fox connected to GOP

A report that the chief financial officer of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities will appeal the dismissal of his lawsuit against BPU President Jeanne Fox is politically motivated, according to Democratic State Chairman Joseph Cryan.  Joseph Potena had sued Fox, claiming he was mistreated after exposing an $83 million Clean Energy Program account where there are allegations of improper management.

"It proves once and for all that the lawsuit and Republicans politics have been intertwined from the beginning of this 4 1/2 year-old case, said Cryan (D-Union), who is also an Assemblyman. "Republicans have been leaked legal documents since the start of the lawsuit.  They have used the lawsuit to pillory a decent, dedicated and proven public servant of thirty years."

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FDU poll: Obama won't carry Corzine

FDU poll: Obama won't carry Corzine

President Barack Obama’s popularity in New Jersey would not necessarily translate into a significant boost for Gov. Jon Corzine, according to a poll released today by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind, while Democrats will assuredly do everything they can to keep talk radio phenom Rush Limbaugh inflated in the public consciousness during a gubernatorial election year.

“While 25% of voters – most of them Democrats – say they would be more likely to vote for Corzine in this year’s elections if Obama campaigned for him, this is offset by the 23% of voters – most of them Republicans – who say that they would be less likely to vote for Corzine,” said Dan Cassino, professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson.

“A plurality of voters (48%), say it wouldn’t make a difference to them,” Cassino added. “Moreover, while 51% say the country is headed in the right direction, only 25% say the state is headed in the right direction, a number essentially unchanged from many previous measures. Still, he’d rather have a popular president come to the state than not come, and it may benefit him with turnout.”

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McGrath joins Pallone congressional staff

Richard McGrath, one of New Jersey's premier spinmeisters, will be moving to Washington this month to become the Communications Director for U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch).  

Since 2002, McGrath has been the Communications Director of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, where he has played a full-time role in Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, Bob Menendez's 2006 U.S. Senate campaign, and Jon Corzine's 2005 gubernatorial campaign.  He was Communications Director for James E. McGreevey's 1997 and 2001 campaigns for Governor, served as Communications Director for two U.S. Senators, Frank Lautenberg and Robert Torricelli.  McGrath has also worked for the New Jersey Senate Democratic office, the state Treasury Department, and the Democratic Governors Association.

McGrath will replace Andrew Souvall, who has worked for Pallone since 2000.  Souvall has accepted a private sector position in California.

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Morning News Digest: March 6, 2009

Sordillo won't run for Somerset freeholder

Sordillo won't run for Somerset freeholder
Victor Sordillo

Warren Deputy Mayor Victor Sordillo this afternoon said he would not enter the GOP race for Somerset County Freeholder, denying claims by sources that he was poised to enter the contest.

Sordillo, an unsuccessful candidate for freeholder in 2007, who failed last year in his 7th District Congressional bid, said he won't run this year. 

That leaves the following candidates, who will screen before the GOP County Committee on April 2 for a seat being vacated by Freeholder Director Rick Fontant: Bernards Committeeman John Carpenter, Montgomery Township Committeeman Mark Caliguire, former prosecutor Tom Roughneen, and Bridgewater Council President Pat Scaglione. 

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In the 19th, Vas fights for political survival

In the 19th, Vas fights for political survival
Assemblyman Joe Vas (D-Perth Amboy)

In any political weather, the name “Vas” on a campaign sign would inspire a particular dynamism, as in “you go” in the Spanish familiar form - and so the name went for 18 years as the formidable Joe Vas, Perth Amboy’s first Puerto Rican mayor, ran the waterfront town.

And yet now, nearly a year after he lost reelection locally, the danger for Assemblyman Joe Vas – same man, different title at stake - may be the inclination among a majority of committee people in this scrunch of blue collar and maritime Middlesex towns called the 19th District, to simply say “scram.”

Battered, Vas nevertheless doesn’t think it’s going to happen, and even appeared indomitable today, moments before heading into a caucus meeting of the Assembly Democrats, where he serves as deputy majority leader.

“Ask any committee member about me – not someone on the outside looking in and trying to rattle the cage – ask them about me and my district office,” he said.

Convinced the committee will see it his way at a party convention on March 25th at the Forge, Vas intends to stare down a cross-river challenge from South Amboy Mayor John T. O’Leary. Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville) will also screen for one of two seats, but by all accounts, the powerful chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee should have little problem securing party support.

The same can’t be said of Vas – who’s had his fights, Barry Adler two years ago and Arlene Friscia before that, not to mention his first run for mayor when he came in as the underdog – who may yet be in his toughest.

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Bergen County Executive's Race: Tedesco goes up on cable TV with introductory ad James Tedesco, Democratic candidate for Bergen County Executive, goes up on cable television Tuesday for the first time this season. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)       Stockton Poll: Belgard and MacArthur tied in CD3 In New Jersey’s key...

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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 >


(9-10-14) Chief Justice Rabner Faces Funding Challenges as Top Court Administrator - Escalating legal fees for litigation is an unintended consequence of underfunding the Court System. ... 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

"[Lyndon] Johnson understood that so far as a man was a political animal (and therefore not searching for some private truth which might be independent of politics) he was then, if deprived of his properties, close to being a dead man." - Norman Mailer

- Miami and the Siege of Chicago


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