Lonegan reacts to Christie news

Former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan today took credit for what he described as accelerating Chris Christie’s formal entrance into the Republican primary for governor.  

“I’m kind of proud of myself,” said Lonegan, himself a candidate. “I filed $400,000 in matching funds and people jump. Within 48 hours of me announcing my matching funds, he gets in the race.”  

A leader of New Jersey’s conservative movement, Lonegan said he still does not know where Christie, a former U.S. Attorney with a crime fighting track record, stands on the rest of the issues. 

“He opposes corruption,” said Lonegan. “So do I. But now that he’s declared and on the battlefield, we’re going to start comparing stands on issues. It’s going to be the experience of a mayor and business owner, versus an attorney. This is a classic case of a conservative, low-tax Republican versus the status quo.

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Christie will run for Governor

Christie will run for Governor
Former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie will enter the race for Governor today.

Former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie is expected to announce today that he intends to seek the Republican nomination for Governor.  Christie will file formal papers with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

Christie, 46, served as New Jersey’s federal prosecutor from 2002 to 2008, where he led a virtual war on political corruption.  His convictions included former Newark Mayor Sharpe James, former Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Wayne Bryant, and Essex County Executive James Treffinger.

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Dressel pledges union will back only Democrats if he replaces Ferriero

Dressel pledges union will back only Democrats if he replaces Ferriero
Union leader Buzz Dressel is expected to run for Bergen County Democratic Chairman if Joe Ferriero is ousted.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 164 endorsed Republican Henry McNamara for Bergen County Executive in 2002 at the request of Democratic powerhouse John Lynch, according to Richard "Buzz" Dressel, the business manager for the local.  Lynch, a former Senate President, is now serving a 39 month sentence after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges.

If there is contest to replace indicted Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero, Dressel is expected to face off against Michael Kasparian, a real estate developer and Democratic fundraiser with ties to Ferriero.  Dressel says the IBEW's endorsements of McNamara and GOP County Clerk Kathleen Donovan won't hamper his ability to replace Ferriero.  He says the union was backing McNamara because he was stronger in his opposition to the Xanadu project than the eventual winner, Democrat Dennis McNerney.  And he says even Ferriero tried to get Donovan to seek re-election last year as a Democrat.

State Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge), who met with Kasparian today, says Dressel shouldn't be penalized for a couple of union endorsements.

"That was his union, it wasn't specifically Buzzy," said Sarlo.   "Look, if the county committee picks him he would have to guarantee that all endorsements out of that union hall are Democratic."

At 3,500 members, Dressel's local is the largest electrical construction workers union in the state.

"That's the largest union in Bergen County, and the fact that he's the president could turn into a big positive for him," said Sarlo.

Dressel's union, whose campaign contributions included one to GOP gubernatorial candidate Bret Schundler in 2001, will endorse only Democrats from now on.  "Without a doubt," he told PolitickerNJ.com.

"We need to bring credibility back to the Bergen County Democratic Party," added Dressel, a Commissioner of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. "This is not the Democratic Party my grandfather was a part of. We're supposed to be connecting people to the process, and that's what I want to do. I want to bring the party back together. I'd actually be calling for meetings and a transparent process. Meanwhile, there's somebody running against me who is unequivocally Joe Ferriero's clone."

On his way in to meet with Paramus developer and Democratic Party fundraiser Kasparian today, State Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen) dismissed the rumor of a conflict and said Dressell shouldn't be penalized for backing a Republican or two.

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Palatucci was a natural to become Bush's N.J. connection

Palatucci was a natural to become Bush's N.J. connection
Bill Palatucci, Chris Christie's former law partner, managed campaigns for Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Tom Kean.

Democrats seem determined to tie former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie to President Bush if he becomes the Republican nominee for Governor, but Christie’s allies say that it was the ex-Prosecutor’s friend and top strategist, William Palatucci, who avidly championed Bush when he began running for President in the late 1990’s.

Christie, who was Palatucci’s law partner, raised money for George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign as part of a bigger effort coordinated by Palatucci, a veteran Republican operative who ran campaigns for Ronald Reagan, Thomas Kean and George H.W. Bush.

“It’s hard to imagine the Democrats not using every opportunity possible to highlight the fact that Chris Christie was part of an effort that raised significant money for George W. Bush, one of the most unpopular politicians in a generation” said Ben Dworkin, director of the David Rebovich Institute of New Jersey Politics at Rider University. “He’s had an outstanding career as U.S. Attorney. But the connection is different from the one the Democrats tried to use against U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance.”

Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Fanwood), the Democratic candidate for Congress against Lance, ran repeated TV ads of Lance’s face interposed with that of Bush.  Lance won by nine percentage points.

“But Christie’s different than Lance because Lance didn’t become an assemblyman and senator because George Bush picked him,” said Dworkin. “Christie became U.S. Attorney because George Bush did.”

The main strand of the Bush-Christie connection hinges on what for Palatucci was a fortuitous encounter with the younger Bush as the then-Texas governor geared up for his 2000 presidential campaign.

At that point, Palatucci’s relationship with the Bushes was already long and recurring, and it was in his role as the New Jersey chief of the presidential campaigns of Bush’s father that he developed a relationship with the younger Bush.

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Willie Brown dies at 68; served 12 terms as Assemblyman

Former Assembly Minority Leader Willie Brown passed away on Monday.    He was 68.  Brown spent 24 years representing Newark in the State Assembly.

First elected in 1973, at age 33, he was a member of a freshman Essex Assembly delegation that included Richard Codey.  He was re-elected eleven times.  He was the Assembly Minority Leader in 1988 and 1989.  When Democrats took control of the Assembly in 1989, the caucus picked Joseph Doria for Speaker and Wayne Bryant for Majority Leader; Brown became the Speaker Pro Tempore.

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Potential mayoral battle looms in Secaucus

Secaucus can seem a little out of place in Hudson County.

Despite the looming New York City skyline, the Meadowlands-buffered town of about 16,000 is far more suburban than most of its county counterparts and seems to share more in common with neighboring South Bergen towns than Jersey City.

But just because everybody knows everybody doesn’t mean politics here are polite, and a race with the potential to get ugly is already shaping up.

Mayor Dennis Elwell, a Democrat who’s serving out the end of his third term, plans to run again. He has the support of the Hudson County Democratic Organization, and isn’t expected to face much of a challenge in the primary, though local attorney Peter Weiner has told at least one Hudson County official that he intends to run for the party’s nomination. And Republican Frank MacCormack, the octogenarian who ran a long-shot campaign against Elwell in 2005, is so disenchanted with the county’s Republican organization that he does not plan to run again. The real challenge for Elwell will be if Councilman Michael Gonnelli runs.

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Bush taps three New Jerseyans as last minute appointees

President Bush made some last minute appointments that included three New Jerseyans: U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and GOP fundraiser Cheryl Halpern were appointed to five-year terms on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. And the general manager of the New York Mets, Omar Minaya, was named to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

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The Back Room

Christie defends himself in NH

Zapped by the DNC on his way into New Hampshire this afternoon, Gov. Chris Christie defended his economic record while wooing NH voters for the second time in little more than a month, according to the Associated Press.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: July 31st

  Christie to Newark hecklers: 'I've spent as much time in Newark as anyone else' BELMAR - Gov. Chris Christie's got nothing but love for The Brick City, or so he says. In response to a Newark school student here today -- a 17-year-old president of the Newark Student Union...

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Op-Ed

The health of New Jersey's women is not Chris Christie's priority

By Linda Stender At his most recent town hall, Gov. Chris Christie accused his predecessors of "monkeying with the math" when it comes to their handling of our state's economy. But as the old saying goes, when the governor points a finger, he... Read More >

Contributors

(7-30-14) Who Is Best Equipped to Decide the Fate of the Common Core? - The latest Christie controversy surrounds his Executive Order to revamp the state’s academic... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... 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

"Go to Mayor [Cory] Booker and ask him if he thinks in the years that he was mayor if I ignored Newark. The fact is I've spent as much time in Newark as anyone else." - Gov. Chris Christie

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