All GOP candidates accept invitation to speak at Somerset forum

The four Republican gubernatorial candidates will speak at a forum - not a debate -- sponsored by the Somerset County Federation of Republican Women on Saturday in Branchburg.  News 12's Laura Jones will moderate the event, which organizers say will be attended by former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie, Franklin Mayor Brian Levine, former Bogota Mayor Steven Lonegan, and Assemblyman Rick Merkt (R-Mendham).

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Caruso says he's 99% there on Rumana primary challenge

Republican fundraiser Joseph Caruso said today that he's "99 percent" sure he's going to mount a primary campaign for a 40th District assembly seat, although pushback from Republican leaders has frustrated his time table.

Caruso said that it's most likely a go if he can get $50,000 on hand by the middle of February, and plans a cocktail reception at his Wayne home this weekend to help meet that goal.

"I'm still doing what I was doing before - seeing how much money I can raise, how much support I can get on the ground, and just really digging through the numbers and making sure it's feasible," he said.  " I'm pretty much there.  I thought I would have more time than I have.

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Lipski officially not running for reelection

Lipski officially not running for reelection
Jersey City Councilman Steve Lipski, facing charges of public urination, won't seek re-election in May.

Jersey City Ward C Councilman Steve Lipski, who in November made international headlines for allegedly urinating on Washington, DC concertgoers from a balcony, this week formally announced in a letter to the Jersey Journal that he will not seek reelection to his council seat. 

"I need to step back because I did not manage my life well. I let alcohol, at times, become a fix for the stress I was experiencing, and my poor judgment resulted in numerous problems and indescribable embarrassment to the position I hold and to me personally,” he wrote to the paper.  “I am stepping back to deal with these issues.” 

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36th District: the GOP underground

36th District: the GOP underground
State Sen. Kevin O'Toole (R-Cedar Grove)

Insiders lay out several battlefields this year, and Republican or Democrat, it’s not two or three gulps of beer into a conversation before they spill the strategic terrain of the coming legislative contests.

The Democrats will put money into 1 to defend their incumbents there, and they will try to take down the Republican incumbents in 2. They’ll play in 8 again largely as a diversionary tactic, defend in 14 and – and this is big - heavily fortify 36, where the GOP last time came within 2,400 votes of stripping the Dems of a seat.

Representatives in both parties usually mention the last of these prospective showdowns as the most meaningful, a potential north Jersey version of the 12th District Karcher-Beck war in 2007, where both parties will likely lay down their heaviest barrage.

For the moment, Democrats feel they have some GOP civil war drama on their side, and are gleefully inclined to let the Republican body count mount at this fractious tri-county, multi-ego crossroads of Passaic, Bergen and Essex, before they get in and scrap in earnest to protect Assemblyman Fred Scalera (D-Nutley) and Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic).

Better to let the other side give itself a good going over before taking casualties. That’s the attitude.

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Among New Jersey Congressman, stimulus plan approved 8-5

The New Jersey House delegation voted along party lines in support of President Barack Obama’s $89 billion economic stimulus package.  New Jersey’s eight Democratic Congressmen voted yes, while the five Republicans voted no.

 

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Bernard Rodgers, former Mayor and congressional candidates, dies at 86

Bernard Rodgers, former Mayor and congressional candidates, dies at 86
Former Dunellen Mayor Bernard Rodgers lost races for Congress in 1962 and 1964.

Bernard Rodgers, a former Mayor of Dunellen who made two unsuccessful bids for Congress in the early 1960's, passed away on Monday.  He was 86.  

New Jersey gained a fifteenth congressional seat after the 1960 census and in 1962 the Legislature created a new district that was based in Middlesex County.  Rodgers ran unopposed for the Republican nomination and faced Democrat Edward Patten, a former New Jersey Secretary of State, Middlesex County Clerk and Mayor of Perth Amboy.  Patten had defeated Middlesex County Freeholder George Otlowski in the Democratic primary.   

In the general election, Rodgers attacked Patten for being a tool of Middlesex County Democratic boss David Wilentz.  Patten beat Rodgers by 20,509 votes, a 56%-43% margin.  He ran against Patten again in 1964 and in the Democratic landslide of that year, he lost 63%-37%.

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Underdog Levine launches gubernatorial bid, promises 'no political hack' appointments

Underdog Levine launches gubernatorial bid, promises 'no political hack' appointments
Franklin Twp. Mayor Brian D. Levine at his kickoff today.

FRANKLIN TWP. - A primitive and superstitious reading of the elements would not inure to the symbolic advantage of Mayor Brian D. Levine, who despite an ice storm and hundreds of dead birds falling in near Hitchcockian fashion nonetheless launched his Republican Primary campaign for governor this afternoon at the Quality Inn.

“I’m never one to pass the buck,” said Levine, 50, standing at a podium in a banquet room here in a Democratic-leaning Somerset County town where he is serving his second term as mayor.

“If my detractors want to believe I summoned snow and ice from the sky today to get attention so be it,” he joked in his answer to a question from reporters. “If they think I put this big bird gimmick out there to get attention, that’s fine. I’ll take it. I have a thick skin. Is it bad timing for an announcement? No. Any time is a good time.”

The moderate Republican’s decision to announce – a few days after the USDA revealed that alarming numbers of starlings had fallen onto Franklin residents’ front lawns and backyards and public spaces as a consequence of exterminating pesticides used on a farm in a neighboring township - was really a simple case of pragmatic timing.  

He had planned for weeks to get in before the end of January.Former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie – the presumptive GOP frontrunner – kicks off his campaign next week, inevitably grabbing week-long news cycle oxygen away from his primary competitors, who now include Levine, Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham) and former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan.

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The Back Room

Corbett yanks Perry video endorsement

While Gov. Chris Christie rushed to Gov. Rick Perry's aid in the aftermath of his indictment, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's re-election campaign wants to distance itself from the embattled Texan.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 19th

Essex Royale: Jones pulls party faithful in for night of gaming, political mixing BELLEVILLE – Elbows on the felt table top, veteran Democratic Party political operative Phil Alagia looked across the void in a room crammed with party members getting a groove on as a bow-tied dealer dealt another...

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Op-Ed

Simplify Pay-to-Play with one state law

By Jeff Brindle A lone PAC contribution to Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson’s campaign highlights the need for pay-to-play reform in New Jersey. During the recent mayoralty election in Trenton, newly elected Mayor Eric Jackson received an $8,200 campaign... Read More >

Contributors

(8-13-14) 'What if' Rob Andrews? - Rob Andrews’ retirement from public service has never been properly mourned as the great loss it was for the State of New Jersey. ... 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 »
(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

“It’s not the first time, it’s not the last time, that a nominee with an issue is going to come up. But you can’t just say, therefore no one else goes forth. That nominee has nothing to do with these nominees, and the governor made a substitution for him anyway.” - state Sen. Ronald L. Rice (D-28)

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