A political career in three parts: Chris Christie, the freeholder

A political career in three parts: Chris Christie, the freeholder
Chris Christie, who began his political career running for Morris County Freeholder in 1994, is expected to seek the GOP nomination for Governor in 2009.

His 1995 swearing-in ceremony marked an auspicious beginning for Freeholder Christopher J. Christie, who raised his right hand to take the oath of office at the prompting of former Gov. Thomas Kean.*

If Christie was still relatively unknown in Morris County Republican politics, the considerable presence of Kean at the reorganization meeting six months after the young comer ousted incumbent Cecilia Laureys in the GOP primary turned some heads.

Soon more people would know the freshman freeholder, although to hear observers tell the story – thirteen years removed from the initial pomp of the Kean triumphal – Christie didn’t exactly overwhelm the Morris County Republican organization. It wasn’t that he didn’t get government or arrived at freeholder meetings unprepared

That wasn’t it at all.

He just appeared unusually ambitious, particularly when, just two months into his first term as a freeholder, he announced his intentions to run for the State Assembly.  He said he’d accomplished all he needed to at the county level and that it was time to move on to Trenton.

His colleagues saw that as a particularly audacious move.

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In '09, Freeholder control at stake in four counties

Majority control of the Board of Chosen Freeholders could flip in four of New Jersey’s 21 counties in November 2009: Atlantic, Burlington, Monmouth and Salem.  In Burlington, Republicans currently have a 3-2 majority after Democrats won two seats last month – their first wins in Freeholder races in two decades.  Two veteran Republican Freeholders are up for re-election in 2009: Bill Haines and Jim Wujcik.  Democrats need to beat one of the two incumbents to win control. 

In Monmouth County, Democrats won their first majority since 1986 when Amy Mallet’s victory in a recount gave them 3-2 control.  Democrat Barbara McMorrow is expected to seek re-election to a second term, and Republicans can regain control if they can unseat her next year.

In Salem County, Democrats have a 5-2 majority after Republicans picked up the open seat of retiring Democratic Freeholder Charles Sullivan, who passed away last Tuesday after a long illness.  Two Democratic incumbents, Beth Timberman and Jeffrey Hogan, are up in 2009.  Republicans would need to win both seats to take control. 

In Atlantic County, where Democrats picked up a Freeholder seat in the last election (and lost a five-term Sheriff), Republicans have a 6-3 majority.  Three Republicans are up next year: At-Large Freeholder Frank Giordano, who was elected as a Democrat in 2006 (he defeated incumbent Frank Finnerty) and then switched parties last year; District 2 Freeholder Thomas Russo, and District 5 Freeholder James Curcio.  Democrats would have to oust two of the three GOP incumbents to take control.

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Charles Sullivan, Salem Freeholder, dies at 70

Charles Sullivan, Salem Freeholder, dies at 70
Freeholder Charles Sullivan (1938-2008)

Salem County Freeholder Charles Sullivan passed on December 23 after a long illness.  He was 70.  Sullivan was first elected Freeholder in 1996 and did not seek re-election to a fifth term last month.  A Democrat, he also spent fifteen years on the Salem City Council, and was the Council President for nine years.

“The passing of Freeholder Sullivan although not a shock was never the less devastating to me. Chuck was an outstanding public servant, a leader of our party, a friend and a mentor. At times like these, especially during the holidays our thoughts and prayers are with the family. Chuck will long be remembered as a caring and adoring father and grandfather,” said Freeholder Lee Ware.  “A man firm in his principles, and a man with decades of public service that never once put his own interests before those of the people that he served. Chuck loved Salem County, and we loved him right back.” 

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Doherty rolls out support of Warren County freeholder director

Warren County Freeholder Director John DiMaio today formally endorsed Assemblyman Michael J. Doherty (R-Washington Township) for the 23rd District state senate seat U.S. Rep.-elect Leonard Lance is vacating to go to Congress.

"I have worked side-by-side with Mike as a member of the Warren County Board of Chosen Freeholders. He has a strong work ethic and he has always taken the correct stand on difficult issues,” said DiMaio in a statement.

“Mike is a true friend of families and taxpayers as evidenced by his record as a Freeholder and Assemblyman. Mike Doherty is one of the most focused individuals that I have worked with in my 28 years of elected service,” the freeholder director added. “When the little guy needs a hand, Mike is always ready to help out. Mike has earned my respect and he will be a great asset to all of us in the 23rd District as our next Senator."

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Hunterdon County prosecutor searches sheriff's office

The Hunterdon County Prosecutor's office served a search warrant on the Hunterdon County Sheriff’s office yesterday afternoon.

Freeholder Matt Holt confirmed that the board received notice that a search warrant had been served.

“It is my understanding via an email from county counsel that went to our board yesterday afternoon that the prosecutor’s office did enter the sheriff’s office with a search warrant yesterday afternoon. They were there, and did spend some time in the office, but under what grounds and whether anything was removed or not, I do not know,” he said. “More than that, we’re not privy to anything ongoing.”

County Prosecutor J. Patrick Barnes earlier this year charged two investigators in the sheriff’s office with lying about their backgrounds. Sheriff Deborah Trout has been at odds with the freeholder board since taking over the office one year ago.

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In Atlantic City, Marsh says he's likely not to run for mayor if Langford goes again

In Atlantic City, Marsh says he's likely not to run for mayor if Langford goes again
Council President William "Speedy" Marsh (foreground) and Councilman Dennis Mason, left.

ATLANTIC CITY – It’s an ancient political maxim that the closer you are to Caesar, the greater the fear, but in Atlantic City – with its recent record of mostly jailed or otherwise tarnished mayors – the saying might as well be the closer you are to Caesar’s Palace, the greater the brazenness. 

Council President William “Speedy” Marsh knows whoever takes on the job next year is going to have all the challenges intrinsic to the resort town – coupled with economic issues that are likely to present even tougher hurdles. 

“Forget about the next four years, I’m talking about the next four months,” he told PolitickerNJ.com.

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The Back Room

Christie: 'I'm the decider'

While describing to fellow Republicans a conversation he said he had with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Gov. Chris Christie borrowed a self-attribution from his old pal George W. Bush.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: July 28th

  Winners and Losers: Week of July 21st Christopher Rodriguez Governor Chris Christie this week announced his selection of the CIA operative as New Jersey’s next Director of the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (OHSP). (Politicker Staff) http://www.politickernj.com/77941/winners-and-losers-week-july-21st     Torres saddles up with Fulop and Baraka for...

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NJ Legislature must get behind statewide standard of responsible contracting

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(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

"A pain management surgeon, Roque said he estimates that the trial and initial loss of patients and other headaches may have personally cost him about $800,000. Ouch." - columnist Agustin Torres, the Political Insider

- The Jersey Journal


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