Corzine visits troops in Iraq

Corzine visits troops in Iraq
Gov. Jon Corzine

Gov. Jon Corzine made a surprise visit to Iraq today and plans to give a noon conference call detailing his acivities.

Following his arrival today in the Middle Eastern country, the governor visited U.S. troops at Camp Bucca, a prison camp maintained by the U.S. military, according to sources.

The AP reports that Corzine is traveling with Govs. Rick Perry of Texas and Chris Gregoire of Washington.

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Lonegan camp says they qualify for matching funds

Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan has raised enough campaign cash to receive matching funds from the state, according to his strategist, Rick Shaftan.

Shaftan didn’t have the exact numbers, but he said that Lonegan has raised over $340,000 – the threshold to receive two dollars for every dollar he raises beyond the $109,000 deductible.

If the contributions are verified, Lonegan will start out with about $802,000.

“The last six to eight weeks has been all fundraising,” said Shaftan.

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Holt decides to run for assembly instead of state senate

Holt decides to run for assembly instead of state senate
Hunterdon County Freeholder Matt Holt will run for the assembly, not the state senate

The three way race for senate in the 23rd Legislative District has been narrowed down to two.

Hunterdon County Freeholder Matt Holt, who had already declared his candidacy for state senate, has opted instead to run for one of the two possible assembly seats that will soon open up.  Both incumbents, Assembly members Marcia Karrow (R-Flemington) and Mike Doherty (R-Washington Twp.) are running to replace Congressman-elect Leonard Lance in the state Senate. 

"My mission to represent the 23rd District in the Legislature will not change.  I repeat my pledge to run a campaign based on issues, and to be a unifying force that all Republicans can rally around to further the goals of the party,” said Holt in a statement.  “Low taxes, responsible government, transparency, and impeccable integrity can be the hallmarks of New Jersey governance.  I continue my total commitment to these principles.” 

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Rule him out of District 36 Assembly run, says Scarpelli

Rule him out of District 36 Assembly run, says Scarpelli
Nutley Commissioner Joe Scarpelli

In a legislative district where some Republicans sense opportunity, Nutley Commissioner Joseph Scarpelli says he does not intend to run for the Assembly this year in the 36th.

“You can rule it out, I’m not interested,” the Republican commissioner told “I’m happy doing what I’m doing.

Scarpelli earned a seat on the commission last year, taking over for his father, former Mayor Peter Scarpelli, who retired from elected office.

Sources say Nutley Mayor Joanne Cocchiola likewise does not intend to pursue a run for the Assembly, while Nutley businessman Carmen Pio Costa remains interested but has not yet formally declared his intentions.

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Pennacchio accuses Treasury Department of stonewalling

State Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R-Montville) is not satisfied with the response to his OPRA requests to the Treasury Department, claiming that any substantive discussion about why the state invested in the troubled Lehman Brothers financial firm was blacked out in the documents provided to him. 

Pennacchio is investigating how the government lost hundreds of millions in pension funds by investing in Lehman Brothers before its collapse.  He had previously complained that his requests were ignored. 

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Kyrillos: 'We need a leader like Chris Christie'

Kyrillos: 'We need a leader like Chris Christie'
State Sen. Joseph Kyrillos (R-Monmouth)

An old ally today sent up a trumpet blast of support for former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie. 

State Sen. Joseph Kyrillos (R-Monmouth), who swore Christie into office when he served as a Morris County Freeholder, says Christie looks and sounds like a Republican candidate for governor. 

“I spent time over the weekend with my good friend… and I am very encouraged by what I heard,” Kyrillos said in an email he sent today to friends. 

“Chris is being urged to run for governor by Republicans, Independents, and even some prominent Democrats,” Kyrillos wrote. “They've read what the newspapers wrote about what Chris achieved as our state's U.S. Attorney, and they're telling Chris that he can provide the leadership and make the tough decisions needed to fix our broken state."

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Manzo to unveil slate next week

Jersey City mayoral candidate Lou Manzo has filled in most of his council slate and plans to start rolling out names next week.

“We will have the majority of the known candidates that are seeking office. It is so tough to find people who want to run, and out of the people who want to run I think I’m going to get the lion’s share of them,” said Manzo, a former assemblyman who’s embarking on his fifth try for the office on Grove Street.

Manzo said that finding quality council candidates has been especially difficult this year. He’s still working on recruiting Ward E Councilman Steve Fulop, who has entertained a number of offers from mayoral candidates to join their slate.

“Everybody’s still fishing for Fulop. He hasn’t made a decision yet. We’re in that race too,” said Manzo.

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The Back Room

Sweeney in North Brunswick on Monday

Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) on Monday will visit the Brian Injury Alliance of New Jersey (BIANJ), a statewide nonprofit that works to improve the quality of life after brain injury.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: July 25th

  After 'briefly' meeting with Christie in Aspen, Astorino says he can live with not having Christie's help New York gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino's campaign described their candidate's fundraising trip to Aspen last night as a success - even if they will not be depending on the chairman...

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NJ Legislature must get behind statewide standard of responsible contracting

By Michael Capelli As a 30 year union carpenter, I learned first-hand how important it was to have the right tools for the job. Now as the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the 30,000 men and women of the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters I... Read More >


 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »
(7-23-14) Rabner Opinion Keeps “Christie for President” Alive - Gov. Chris Christie’s fight to prevent same-sex marriage in New Jersey ended with Chief Justice Stuart Rabner.... 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

"Gov. Chris Christie says he won’t campaign for the Republican gubernatorial candidate in New York because the cause is hopeless: Gov. Andrew Cuomo is ahead by more than 30 points. But he will campaign in New Hampshire, over and over, where the Republican is also trailing by more than 30 points. What’s the reason? It may be that New Hampshire holds the nation’s first presidential primary. It may be that he doesn’t want to mess with Cuomo, who knows where the skeletons are buried at the Port Authority. But one thing is certain: Gov. Straight Talk is spinning again. And it seems to be habit-forming." - columnist Tom Moran

- Star-Ledger


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