Morning News Digest: March 4, 2009

Poll: Christie leads Corzine by 9 points

Poll: Christie leads Corzine by 9 points
Gov. Jon Corzine continues to struggle for the approval of New Jersey voters. He is upside-down, with 40% approval and 46% disapproval.

Former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie leads Gov. Jon Corzine by nine percentage points, 41%-32%, in a Fairleigh Dickinson University Public Mind poll released this morning.

In a matchup among Republican primary voters, Christie leads former Bogota Mayor Steven Lonegan 43%-15%.  Two other candidates, Franklin Mayor Brian Levine and Assemblyman Rick Merkt (R-Mendham) barely register, at 2% and 1%, respectively.

Corzine’s approval rating is upside-down at 40%-46%.  And the governor has a taken major hit in popularity with public employee households, with only 31% of their members approving of his job performance, while 56% disapprove. 

“When budgets are cut, public employees laid off, and taxes are in danger of being raised, lots of people think twice about their support for the incumbent,” said pollster Peter Woolley.Christie’s name recognition, which the same poll measured at 44% in January, is now 57%.  Lonegan’s statewide name ID is at 33%.

Corzine does come out on top in head-to-head match ups with the other Republican gubernatorial candidates, but not by huge margins, leading Lonegan by four points, 36% to 32%.  He leads Merkt 38% to 28% and Levine 38% to 27%.

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Doherty chief Smith gets in 23rd District GOP Primary

Doherty chief Smith gets in 23rd District GOP Primary
Ed Smith

Asserting that primaries are great forums for the exchange of ideas, Ed Smith of Asbury, chief of staff to Assemblyman Michael Doherty (R-Washington Twp.) tonight told he intends to run for the Assembly in the 23rd District Republican Primary.

“I’m a pro-life, pro-business and pro-gun Republican,” said Smith, 55, employed in Doherty’s office for seven years, and a candidate for the Assembly twice before, in 1995 and 1999.

As of tonight, Smith is the first candidate to enter the 23rd District Assembly race in addition to Assemblyman-elect John DiMaio - and presumably Hunterdon County Freeholder Erik Peterson, who placed second behind DiMaio in last month’s special convention. 

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Christie coattails will keep Burlco GOP majority, chairman says

Christie coattails will keep Burlco GOP majority, chairman says

Burlington County Republican Chairman Bill Layton doubts his party will have to defend two open freeholder seats this year, when control of the board hanging in the balance.  But even if they do, Layton said it won't make a difference.

"It doesn't matter if there are two vacancies or not. Last year we lost an election because of Barack Obama, and this year that dynamic has changed.  We have Chris Christie at the top of the ticket," he said.

Both Jim Wujcik and Bill Haines - the only freeholders up for reelection -- are mulling retirement.

While Layton was less certain about Wujcik, he was confident that Haines would decide to give it another go.

"Bill Haines has been a great freeholder, and he's contemplated running for reelection a few times during the last couple elections he's run," Layton said.  "I think he indicated pretty clearly that he's interested in running and a lot of things changed when Aubrey [Fenton] and Stacey [Jordan] lost."

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Buono hosts jobs and services fair in Edison with Corzine amid ongoing LG buzz

Buono hosts jobs and services fair in Edison with Corzine amid ongoing LG buzz
State Sen. Barbara Buono (D-Metuchen)

EDISON – The sight of Gov. Jon Corzine and state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-Metuchen) conferring at the front of the room, by turns smiling and serious with flashbulbs popping, conjured images of some future press conference – not too long from now - in which the governor unveils Buono as his running mate.

It’s a gubernatorial election year and she’s on his short list, after all, as a seven-year senate veteran with organizational ties to South Jersey, who last year landed the chairmanship of the powerful Budget Committee in a state where women outvoted men in last year’s presidential election: 54 to 46%  and where Catholics make up 48% of voters.

“I would definitely consider it,” said Buono, who lives in Metuchen, one of New Jersey's municipal donut holes, surrounded by the bigger and more politically potent Edison, making Buono no stranger to intra-party turf warfare in this Democratic county, where Republicans perennially threaten to reawaken the suburban Reagan Repubican vote.

Ultimately backed by then-Democratic Party boss John Lynch, she knocked off an incumbent Republican assemblyperson in 1993 in her first foray into Trenton politics, and is currently serving her third term as a senator.

"I think she's ideal for the position," state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Elizabeth) said of Buono in reference to the LG job. "She's articulate and well-respected, she's from Central Jersey and she has experience with budget issues."

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Levin adds a name to his Jersey City ticket

Jersey City mayoral candidate Dan Levin announced today that his “One Jersey City” slate will include fellow civic activist Norrice Raymaker to run for council in Ward C.

“With the city’s redevelopment focus now shifting from the waterfront to the Journal Square area, Norrice is the most able candidate to protect and represent the interests of Ward C residents.  She brings a breath of fresh air to business-as-usual politics,” said Levin.

Raymaker, who used to serve on the board of CivicJC -- a government reform group Levin founded -- is the founding director of the Liberty Humane Society, Vice President of the Sgt. Anthony Park Association and serves on the board of the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy. 

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Whitman won't run for freeholder

Whitman won't run for freeholder
Kate Whitman, the daughter of former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, says she won't seek the Republican nomination for Somerset County Freeholder in 2009.

After considering running for a seat left vacant on the Somerset County Freeholder Board, Kate Whitman of Peapack-Gladstone today announced that she has decided not to screen for the position before the Republican Committee here, she wrote in a letter to supporters.

“While I was heartened by the level of support and encouragement that I was receiving, this is simply not the right time for me personally and professionally,” said Whitman, the daughter of former Gov. Christie Todd Whitman, who placed second behind Leonard Lance in a run for Congress in the 7th District last year and screened unsuccessfully for freeholder in 2007. 

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Morning News Digest: March 3, 2009

The Back Room

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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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 >


(9-17-14) Viral Video Prompts Questionable NJ Municipal Ordinance -  Socrates said, “While I might disagree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say... 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

“The fact is that they’ve been digging around for eight months now and have found absolutely nothing. Wrap up your work. Do your job." - Gov. Chris Christie

- PolitickerNJ


Should the Joint Legisaltive Committee investigating Bridgegate 'wrap it up?':


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