Corzine picks new Deputy Chiefs of Staff

Corzine picks new Deputy Chiefs of Staff
Gov. Jon Corzine's new Deputy Chiefs of Staff, Marilyn Davis and Mark Matzen.

Administration officials confirm that Marilyn Davis and Mark Matzen will join the front office as Deputy Chiefs of Staff, replacing Patti McGuire, who has taken a position with a lobbying firm. 

The Governor's office will split some of McGuire's duties between Davis and Matzen as part of a small reorganization.

Matzen will return to state government after nearly three years at MWW, where he served as senior vice president.  He served as Deputy Chief of Staff under Governors Richard Codey and James E. McGreevey, as Chief of Staff to U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, and as New Hampshire Political Director for John Kerrey's presidential campaign in 1992.

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Morning News Digest: February 18, 2009

No speeches but plenty of Christie vibe at Union County GOP's Lincoln Day auction

No speeches but plenty of Christie vibe at Union County GOP's Lincoln Day auction
Former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, left, and Franklin Township Mayor Brian D. Levine

ROSELLE PARK – On a night of party revelry, two men here tonight appeared at least initially dejected.

There would be no candidates’ speeches at the Union County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner/Auction, and former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan accepted the news with admitted disappointment.

“First it was five minute speeches then three minutes and now we’re down to no speeches,” said Lonegan when he was asked if he would be addressing the packed crowd at the annual event.

A second candidate for governor, Franklin Township Mayor Brian D. Levine, arrived with an envelope containing prepared remarks in his jacket pocket, but there was no need, he learned from Lonegan when Levine walked in the door to the small but swanky Solar do Minho banquet hall.

“The candidates are mingling, talking to people,” explained Union County GOP Chairman Phil Morin. “They’re getting their message out. If we do speeches, we’ll be here all night.”

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Marks contemplates running against Stender and Green in the 22nd District

Marks contemplates running against Stender and Green in the 22nd District
Former Scotch Plains Mayor Martin Marks, left, gets former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie to autograph Marks's copy of "The Soprano State."

ROSELLE PARK – He said last year he would be the perfect candidate to take on Linda Stender, and former Scotch Plains Mayor Martin Marks may still believe that, as he mulls over a challenge of the 22nd District Assemblywoman, who also lost her own Congressional bid and now faces reelection to the Assembly.

“I’d say it’s about a 50% percent chance that I’ll run,” said Marks, who served as mayor of Scotch Plains for eight years and failed twice to move up: once in a State Senate bid in 2003 and again in his 2008 Republican Primary bid for Congress.  

“It’s a tough district,” said Marks, remembering how Nicholas Scutari, buried him in the City of Plainfield.

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In the battle for third in Union, Merkt and Levine seek to lower expectations

In the battle for third in Union, Merkt and Levine seek to lower expectations
Franklin Mayor Brian D. Levine, left, and Assemblyman Rick Merkt are polling at 5% and 2%, respectively, in the race for the Republican nomination for Governor.

Anything less than a win at Saturday's Union County Republican Convention and Chris Christie's campaign would hear echoes of Anne Evans Estabrook, whose 2008 U.S. Senate bid began to unravel after State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio beat her in Union County.

It would be similarly problematic if conservative Steve Lonegan, who has spent most of the last five years running for Governor, finishes below second place.

But then what happens appears less predictable, less solid, as Franklin Township Mayor Brian D. Levine and Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham) battle in the real contest of the day: a contest for third place between two other contenders eager to break out of a field that has grown to seven candidates for the chance to take on Gov. Jon Corzine in November.

Already, the Merkt campaign is minimizing expectations. The candidate is leaving the state tonight for a business trip.

 "I actually have to work for a living," Merkt, a corporate attorney, told PolitickerNJ.com. "I have to feed my family."

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Sorantino confirms that he will resign tomorrow

Citing business troubles that have left him with little time to devote to his party, Doug Sorantino confirmed that he will resign from his post as Cumberland County Republican Chairman tomorrow.

Sorantino, a former freeholder who has been chairman for one year, said that income from his construction supply and trucking company took a nosedive last year, and that his own economic troubles are distracting him from being able to lead the party.   

“This is an important year for Republicans. We haven’t had an opportunity like this in quite a few years, and given the financial situation, my business is in the construction supply industry, I can’t give the organization the attention it needs to be victorious this year,” said Sorantino in a phone interview with PolitickerNJ.  “My priority would be in the wrong place if I didn’t focus on my business… and I didn’t want to shortchange the organization.” 

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Giuliani endorses Christie for Governor

Giuliani endorses Christie for Governor
Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie received the endorsement of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani today. Behind the two ex-Prosecutors is Maxwell Place, the condominium where Gov. Jon Corzine lives.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani today endorsed Christopher Christie for the Republican nomination for Governor.  Giuliani came to Hoboken this afternoon to announce his support for his fellow former U.S. Attorney.  

"Chris is a decisive leader who knows how to make the tough decisions. He will make New Jersey prosperous by cutting taxes, eliminating wasteful spending and bringing jobs back to the state," said Giuliani, who served as Mayor from 1994 to 2002.  "And Chris Christie has a plan to revitalize New Jersey's cities by bringing new jobs here, challenging failing school districts and making the streets safer. Chris is a bold leader who will bring real change to New Jersey."  

Last week, Christie won the support of the New Jersey GOP's leading elder statesman, former Gov. Thomas Kean.  The former federal prosecutor and Morris County Freeholder has announced endorsements from nearly 600 Republican party leaders and elected officials since entering the race on February 4.  A Quinnipiac University poll released the day Christie announced showed him with a 44%-38% lead over the Democratic incumbent, Jon Corzine.  

"I am humbled to have the support of Mayor Giuliani, whose strong leadership made New York City a better place and positively affected the lives of so many New Jerseyans," said Christie. "In these trying times, I will be the leader our state needs to make the tough decisions necessary to get New Jersey back on track." 

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Vineland businessman says he'll seek Assembly seat

Vineland businessman Sam Fiocchi said today will seek the Republican nomination for State Assembly in the first district, which is expected to be one of the most competitive legislative races of the year.

"It's just the state of affairs in New Jersey. I've been a small businessman," said Fiocchi, a Vineland resident who heads up a family run irrigation company.  "It's difficult to operate in this business environment, and I'm a Republican. I always felt if you want to make change, you have to step up and do something about it."

Three Republicans have submitted letters of intent to party leaders of the three counties that make up the southernmost legislative district in New Jersey.  They'll compete for two spots on the county lines to take on incumbent Democrats Nelson Albano (D-Vineland) and Matt Milam (D-Vineland).

The district is politically competitive, and both parties view Albano and Milam as vulnerable, especially without the benefit of State Sen. Jefferson Van Drew (D-Dennis) at the top of the ticket.

Michael Donohue, an attorney from Cape May County who came close to winning an assembly seat in 2007, is running and is expected to have no problem securing the party nod.  The real competition will likely be between Fiocchi and Upper Township Committeeman Frank Conrad.

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The Back Room

Christie invades South Carolina

On his first visit to South Carolina as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, Gov. Chris Christie stayed in "moderate Charleston, in contrast to other potential GOP candidates who made early visits to conservatives elsewhere," according to an ABC News report.

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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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Op-Ed

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 >

Contributors

(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

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