Morning News Digest: February 23, 2009

Today in Trenton

The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet at 9 AM today to consider Gov. Christopher Christie’s nomination of Bret Schundler as Commissioner of Education and Lee Solomon as President of the Board of Public Utilities.  Schundler is a former Jersey City Mayor and gubernatorial candidate.  Solomon, a Superior Court Judge, served as an Assemblyman, Camden County Freeholder, Camden County Prosecutor, and Assistant U.S. Attorney.

The Assembly Budget Committee will meet at 10 AM to hear testimony from Acting State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff on the state budget deficit.

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Lance defends himself against DCCC attack

Lance defends himself against DCCC attack
U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) threw an early tomahawk at freshman U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton) this week when it added his name to its so-called Republican Hypocrisy Hall of Fame, a move Lance laughed off today as woefully off-the-mark.

After Lance identified the Green Brook Flood Control Project as a “shovel ready” endeavor worthy of $15 to $20 million for completion under the provisions of the $819 billion federal stimulus package spearheaded by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats, the DCCC jumped on the apparent contradiction of Lance’s “no” vote on the federal stimulus bill. 

“It’s no surprise that House Republicans are betting on failure, while President Obama and Democrats are investing in success,” said DCCC Communications Director Jennifer Crider, citing the GOP’s opposition to a man in the U.S. Congress of the federal stimulus package.

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DiMaio wins Assembly seat

DiMaio wins Assembly seat

CLINTON TWP. - First elected to local office when he was 23 years old, Warren County Freeholder John DiMaio has prevailed to claim a vacant District 23 Assembly seat after waging a second ballot war with fellow red meat Republican conservative, Hunterdon County Freeholder Erik Peterson.

153 for DiMaio; 

141 for Peterson.

Victory for the veteran DiMaio at this special, joint-county convention hinged on his reaching into the more voter-dense Hunterdon County to pilfer votes from Peterson's backyard.

On the two Warren County voting machines, DiMaio recorded totals of 60 and 62 votes, while Peterson claimed just eight and nine votes. On the one Hunterdon County machine, DiMaio pulled 31 votes, while Peterson won 124 votes.

In his first ballot loss to DiMaio and Peterson, Hunterdon County Freeholder Matt Holt, a moderate, won 42 votes from Hunterdon and 14 from Warren. 

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Peterson v. DiMaio

Peterson v. DiMaio
From left: Hunterdon County GOP Chairman Henry Kuhl, GOP Counsel Mark Sheridan, and Warren County GOP Chair Doug Steinhardt peruse the first ballot results

CLINTON - Freeholder Erik Peterson and Freeholder John DiMaio will meet on a second ballot, GOP counsel Mark Sheridan just announced.

Freeholder Matt Holt is out.

129 votes for DiMaio;

56 for Holt;

104 Peterson.

Now voters begin to line up again in front of the Sequoia voting machines.

"The reason it's taking so long is these are those new paper trial voting machines," says former U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer. 

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Schluter says he'll back Christie for Governor

Schluter says he'll back Christie for Governor
Former Sen. Bill Schluter

Former State Sen. William Schluter, a Republican who ran for Governor as an Independent eight years ago, said today that he will support former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie for the Republican nomination for Governor.

"The Republican Party wants to be united with Christie, and I like Chris (Daggett) very much but the reality is the money one needs to run for governor makes it very difficult for him to get support. I'll be with Christie," said Schluter.

Schluter, a longtime environmentalist and ethics reform champion, was serving as a Republican State Senator in 2001 when he decided to mount an Independent bid for Governor.  He received 1% of the vote.  Daggett, 58, a former Commissioner of Environmental Protection under Gov. Thomas Kean and Regional EPA Administrator under President Reagan, said earlier this week that he would seek the governorship as an Independent.

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Peterson: Lincoln and Reagan

Peterson: Lincoln and Reagan
Hunterdon County Freeholder Erik Peterson

CLINTON – Reveling in his rep as a “tight-fisted” politician, Hunterdon County Freeholder Erik Peterson stands onstage now, having accepted the nomination of Hampton Mayor Rob Walton.

“What would Abraham Lincoln think today to witness the condition of our state and our nation?” Peterson asks the crowd. “We have witnessed ever expanding state spending, and borrowing. Ladies and gentlemen, this must end!”

As freeholder, he opposed a clubhouse at the golf course on principle, and backed a proposal to increase services for veterans of the armed forces. 

“As the last great president to fully embody the principles of our party, Ronald Reagan reminded us (there are simple solutions to problems),” Peterson proclaims.

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Holt voices optimism for future of the GOP

Holt voices optimism for future of the GOP
Hunterdon County Freeholder Matt Holt

CLINTON - The ugliest word one can utter here in this conservative district is “Trenton,” and “Heaven knows how we’ve suffered under the one size fits all thinking that has come out of Trenton,” Kingwood Township Mayor Eileen Niemann says as she puts Hunterdon County Freeholder Matt Holt’s name in for the vacant District 23 Assembly seat.

Holt’s up there now. 

“We need to build the foundation on which a more fiscally responsible state can grow,” the self-described optimist tells the crowd. “Let’s not forget the true measure of good leadership is to keep in mind the ultimate goal. We must never allow politics to interfere with that pursuit.”

He goes for an analogy when he considers the other dreaded concept here: the state Council on Affordable Housing (COAH), likening the agency to a Superbowl planning committee which abruptly decides three weeks before the big game to build a stadium in an area other than the one already designated.

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The Back Room

Christie campaigns in New Hampshire

When asked in New Hamsphire today about whether he was considering a presidential run in 2016, Gov. Chris Christie said he wouldn’t discuss his plans until after November.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 17th

U.S. Senate race: Bell defends gold standard stance MONTCLAIR - On the same day he was politically brickbatted by the chief adviser to the last Republican challenger to incumbent U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), GOP Senate candidate Jeff Bell stood by a key plank of policy platform: monetary reform...

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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

“Clearly there’s some resemblance with Theodore Roosevelt. That direct confrontational style of leadership.” - historian Doris Hearns Goodwin, referring to Gov. Chris Christie.

- The Times of Trenton


Who would make the best running mate for Chris Christie if he lands the GOP nomination for president?:


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