LD 23 Assembly candidates attend forum tonight

Three candidates running for a vacant Assembly seat in the 23rd Legislative District are scheduled to appear tonight at a candidates’ forum sponsored by the Clinton Township Republican Club.

The event will feature candidates’ opening comments, and then questions from the audience.  It starts at 7 p.m. in the Regina Room of the Holiday Inn in Clinton Township. 

The candidates - Hunterdon County Freeholder Matt Holt, Hunterdon County Freeholder Erik Peterson, and Warren County Freeholder John DiMaio – will compete Saturday in a special convention held by the joint Hunterdon/Warren County Republican Committees at the Clinton Township Middle School.

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Sordillo considers another freeholder bid

Sordillo considers another freeholder bid
Warren Township Deputy Mayor Victor Sordillo

Warren Township Deputy Mayor Victor Sordillo may pursue a run for the seat veteran Somerset County Freeholder Rick Fontana is vacating at the end of his term this year.

“I have not ruled out running at this time,” Sordillo told supporters in a Tuesday night email. 

The 2007 candidate for freeholder and 2008 candidate for U.S. Congress said he plans to meet with Somerset County Republican Party Chairman Dale Florio to determine a course of action.

“If I can add something to the field of candidates by stimulating ideas and debate, I will enter the contest,” said Sordillo. “If I believe that the choices are sufficient to ensure the strength of the party, I will become an observer and supporter this year.”

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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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The Back Room

Sources: Why Fox?

With the support of Gov. Chris Christie, Jamie Fox is on the fast track to get back to the Department of Transportation (DOT). The question is why?

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 18th

Guv prospects Fulop and Sweeney add voices to Silva, Stack and striking 1199 SEIU workers UNION CITY – They tried out their blue collar tough guy tonsils today in front of a purple-shirted crowd of striking healthcare workers – two of three as-yet-undeclared Democratic candidates for governor: Jersey City...

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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

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Quote of the Day

quote of the day

“We’re going to hold the line until hell freezes over, and when hell freezes over, we’re going to hold the line on ice skates." - Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-31), at yesterday's SEIU 1199 rally.

- PolitickerNJ

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