GOP considers candidate options for race against Albano, Milam

With limited opportunities to pick up State Assembly seats in November, Republicans are expected to pour extensive resources into the state's southernmost tip - a traditionally Republican area currently represented by three Democrats. "You look at the map, and District 1 is definitely their number one priority," said Monmouth University pollster and political science professor Patrick Murray.  "It's going to be tough. Cape May is a huge Republican County.  It's going to be a year where we're not going to have a high turnout.  You're going to get the voters who vote every year, and they're going to be Republicans down there." The first district is made up of Cape May County, a large part of Cumberland County and a small part of southern Atlantic County. Republicans see the district's total Democratic control as a fluke brought about by state Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis), the most conservative Democrat in the Senate whose coattails in 2007 are credited with helping his two assembly running mates, Nelson Albano (D-Vineland) and Matt Milam (D-Vineland) across the finish line. This time, Van Drew isn't on the ballot.  Instead, Albano, who's in his second term, and Milam, a freshman - both from Cumberland County -- are below an unpopular Democratic governor and are likely to face at least one Republican candidate who comes from Cape May County - a Republican stronghold that dominates the district. Dennis Township Attorney Michael Donohue, who came up about 2,000 votes short of Milam in 2007, plans to run again, and will likely have the support of Republican leaders. Upper Township Committeeman Frank Conrad, who owns three small businesses in the district, has submitted a letter of intent to run, but he's been pretty quiet about it

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DiMaio supported by fellow Warren freeholder

Warren County Freeholder John DiMaio today won the official backing of fellow Freeholder Rick Gardner, as DiMaio pursues an Assembly seat in the 23rd Legislative District.

“It is with great pride that I support & endorse my fellow Freeholder John DiMaio in his run for the Assembly in the 23rd Legislative District,” said Gardner, a Franklin Township farmer. “The conservative roots and values of the citizens in the 23rd District are time-honored traditional values that have made this region one of the best places to live in New Jersey." 

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Murray tells chair he's mulling run for governor

Murray tells chair he's mulling run for governor

MOUNTAIN LAKES - Part of the crowd buzz last night at the Zeris Inn concerned the whereabouts of Morris County Freeholder James Murray, who evidently had his own reason for not being in attendance at Chris Christie's formal kickoff.

It's because Murray is himself mulling a bid for governor.

"He called me the day before yesterday and I asked him if he was going to Chris's event," said Morris County Republican Chairman John Sette.

The chairman recalled Murray telling him he was going to stay neutral and when Sette asked him why, Murray spilled it.

"He told me, 'I'm thinking about running for governor because I think I can appeal to Democrats and Independents,'" Sette said.

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Christie's urban agenda heavy on vision, not block by city block political organizing

Christie's urban agenda heavy on vision, not block by city block political organizing

MOUNTAIN LAKES – Chris Christie’s message of renewing New Jersey’s cities sparks a lone shout of enthusiasm in this mostly Caucasian crowd but ultimately produces little battle cry effect here at the Zeris Inn on Thursday night.

“I was born in Newark 46 years ago,” Christie explains. 

“I’m sorry,” comes the rejoinder of a man in the back of the banquet hall.

Christie the former U.S. Attorney says he is uniquely qualified to make the state’s urban areas safe, and vows as governor to entice businesses with tax incentives and invigorated business zones to move in to places like Newark.  

That commitment from the candidate rouses at least one real estate person in the crowd who off the record says New Jersey’s suburban experiment is essentially built-out and its service sector economy limited, and the only logical way the state can regain an edge is to revitalize its urban areas.

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Morning News Digest: February 6, 2009

Webber goes for Reagan-Christie linkage

Webber goes for Reagan-Christie linkage

MOUNTAIN LAKES – Chris Christie’s two-day bus tour comes to an end in his home county of Morris, and if there are any hard feelings from past primary campaigns, they’re heavily layered over with food and drink and some early and undeniable GOP adrenaline in the banquet hall here at the Zeris Inn.

“Phenomenal,” deadpans Steve Lonegan campaign spokesman Rick Shaftan when told of the overflow crowd come to pay homage to the local boy made good. 

“I hope there were 1,000 people there – and plenty of booze,” adds the anti-GOP establishment Shaftan. “Meanwhile, we were out there pounding on doors and organizing.”

Although no one reports seeing Morris County Freeholder John Murphy among Christie’s Republican ranks – the man who unseated Christie in their bitter 1997 contest – the place is jammed with recognizable faces, including state Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-Morris), Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce (R-Parsippany), state Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R-Morris), Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains), Freeholder Director Gene Feyl, Freeholder Jack Schrier, Freeholder Margaret Nordstrom, Freeholder Doug Cabana, Clerk Jane Bramhall and others.

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Lonegan and Merkt seize on Christie's COAH statement

Lonegan and Merkt seize on Christie's COAH statement
Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham)

MOUNTAIN LAKES – Intent on keeping gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie pinned down in a Republican primary,  the rightward flanking duo of former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan and Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham)  claimed credit – and victory - this evening for having budged Christie to his current stance on the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH). 

On Thursday, Christie told a Monmouth County crowd that he would “gut COAH and put an end to it,” evidently the first time on the campaign trail that he has spoken of outright scrapping the agency, which mandates low and moderate income housing in all of New Jersey’s 566 municipalities. 

Merkt and Lonegan applauded Christie for appearing to adopt their position, but also read the GOP frontrunner’s change-up as a sign that he’s not tough enough on the issue, and worry that he could be susceptible to equivocation on what they see as other core conservative positions. 

“Four years ago during the gubernatorial primary, I put out a tabloid attacking Jon Corzine’s COAH plan of 100,000 units of affordable housing,” Lonegan said.

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Healy unveils mayoral slate

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, who’s seeking reelection this May, is revealing his council slate tonight at the Casino in the Park.  

All but three of the council’s incumbents will run with Healy.

In Ward E – the only seat held by a non-Healy ally, Steven Fulop – the Mayor is putting up Guy Catrillo, a Republican who works for the city’s planning division and has run for legislative office several times.  Catrillo is president of the Dante Alighieri Society and the Historic Preservation Commission.

In Ward C, where incumbent Steve Lipski decided against seeking reelection after being arrested for allegedly urinating on a concert crowd from a balcony, businesswoman and community activist Nidia Rivera Lopez – the wife of former Councilman Benjamin Lopez -- will run on Healy’s ticket

In Ward B, Phil Kenny, an ally of Freeholder Bill O’Dea who works as the , Office Operations Coordinator for the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders, replaces Mary Spinello. 

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 22nd

Fight of the Week: Donovan v. Pascrell Fight of the Week Bergen County Executive Kathe Donovan v. U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9) (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ) http://www.politickernj.com/79736/fight-week-donovan-v-pascrell     Paramus mayor's race: Candidates in closely-divided Bergen borough spar over taxes, towing issues PARAMUS - When voters go to the polls in November...

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Op-Ed

White House’s Tuition Challenge Being Met in NJ

By MICHAEL W. KLEIN In his weekly radio address on August 16, President Obama challenged colleges “to do their part to bring down costs” and lighten the tuition burden on students.  The state colleges and universities in New Jersey have... Read More >

Contributors

(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 »
(8-20-14) Can You Take the ‘Partisan’ out of ‘Partisan Politics’? - Redistricting will not take place for another seven years. Yet the debate has already... more »
    My Richard Nixon Ambivalence   Today is the fortieth anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s resignation address to the nation on August 8, 1974. At that time, I was ambivalent about... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

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