Adler and Myers go head-to-head in 3rd District debate

State Sen. John Adler (D-Camden): Politicker file photoState Sen. John Adler (D-Camden): Politicker file photo 

MOUNT HOLLY - The debate is underway here in the 3rd Congressional District between Medford Mayor Chris Myers and state Sen. John Adler (D-Camden), and military issues and the economy dominate the dialogue early in the auditorium of Rancocas Valley Regional High School.

No surprise, given this district, which is home to Fort Dix, and given the hosts of this debate - Veterans for Education, a group of military veterans who attend Rutgers-Camden.

Myers, a Republican, and Adler, his Democratic counterpart, are vying to replace veteran U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton (R-Burlington), who is retiring at the end of this term.

Taking the first question, Adler says he would be able to better represent veterans returning from the warzone of Iraq and Afghanistan because of his background. His father died when he was young. He knows how to listen.

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Schaer will replace Cohen as key committee chairman

Gary Schaer will replace Neil Cohen as Chairman of the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance CommitteeGary Schaer will replace Neil Cohen as Chairman of the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance CommitteeAssemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic) is expected to be named chairman of the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee. The post became available in July when Neil Cohen resigned his Assembly seat after being caught with child pornography on his state computer.  A formal announcement from Speaker Joseph Roberts is expected to come later this afternoon.  

With jurisdiction over the banking and insurance industries, the committee is considered to be one of the most powerful assignments in the Legislature.  Schaer, a two-term Assemblyman, has a background and career in the financial services industry and has formed a solid relationship with Roberts.  For now, Schaer will retain his vice chairmanship of the Assembly Budget Committee.

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Legislators to introduce Blakely-inspired bill

The struggle of the late political consultant Tom Blakely’s widow to secure payment from the life insurance policy her husband signed just days before he died may lead to legislation in New Jersey. 

Last month, four state Senators wrote a letter to TransAmerica Life Insurance Corp. CEO Patrick S. Baird inviting him or a representative of the company to meet with them over legislation they plan to propose next month that would change the way life insurance companies operate in New Jersey.

TransAmerica has been assailed by prominent New Jersey Republicans ever since it challenged the validity of Blakely’s second policy with the company.  Blakely was a co-founder of Jamestown Associates, a top Republican consulting firm, and died in March after collapsing during a 5K race in Bordentown. 

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Hughes makes case for Obama on economy, while McCain unveils Palin attack ad

Brian M. Hughes, Mercer County executive: Politicker file photoBrian M. Hughes, Mercer County executive: Politicker file photo 

Arguing for why voters should choose Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes today contrasted the tax cut proposals of both Obama and his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Simultaneously, the McCain Campaign unveiled their new television ad, "Lipstick," which punches back at Obama in defense of McCain running mate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

In his Statehouse press conference this afternoon, Hughes argued that Obama’s plan cuts taxes for 95 percent of American workers and provides tax relief to middle class families, while McCain’s plan offers zero relief to 2.8 million New Jersey families, and offers only a $125 benefit to others.

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Rothman: no new chairman until after November 4th

With potential candidates already angling for the job of Bergen County Democratic Chairman, U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-Englewood) said that there’s no need to elect a new chairman until after the November election.

“Many of us feel that there’s no need to rush to choose a new chairman. We are in the process of finding out the true condition of the party and its finances,” said Rothman, who emphasized that indicted Chairman Joe Ferriero hasn’t even resigned yet.  “And then examining what legal requirements exist with regard to new elections for chairman.” 

Indeed, Democratic Bergenites acknowledge that the party is facing significant debt – a feeling that in recent years has been much more familiar to their Republican counterparts. 

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Ferriero and Oury each out on $200,000 property bond bail

NEWARK - Charged with eight counts of corruption, Bergen County Democratic chairman Joseph Ferriero and Bergenfield attorney Dennis Oury made bail today on a $200,000 property bond ordered by federal Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo.

Indicted yesterday for their role in a grants scheme, Ferriero and Oury turned themselves over to the FBI today and appeared in Cox's courtroom around 2:30 p.m.

They stood with their attorneys in a pretrial appearance that laasted all of five minutes.

Gerald Krovatin of Newark is representing Oury, and Joseh Hayden of Roseland is representing Ferriero.

Each defendant said three words when Cox asked them if they understood the bail package agreement.

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Ex-mayor, labor leader seeking votes for Ferriero's job

Labor leader Buzz Dressel wants to be the next Bergen Democratic ChairmanLabor leader Buzz Dressel wants to be the next Bergen Democratic ChairmanJoseph Ferriero still hasn’t resigned as chairman of the Bergen County Democratic Organization, but after he was indicted on eight counts of corruption yesterday, the race to replace him has begun.

Already, potential candidates acknowledge that they’ll need to tackle two major issues in the upcoming weeks.

One is bridging the divide between the Ferriero loyalists and State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck).

The other is fundraising.  That’s never been a problem for the BCDO under the leadership of Ferriero, who foes feared as a fundraising juggernaut.  But now, without Ferriero at the helm, the party could find it difficult to raise cash fast.  And they’ll need it – as of the last ELEC report, filed on July 15th, the party’s cash on hand is in the red.  While the party’s finances were similar at this point one year ago, they had Ferriero’s money-raising prowess to ramp it up.

Three names are still floated as potential replacements, while other names are likely to be added to the mix later on.  There’s former Leonia Mayor Robert Pacicco, a jewelry store owner and Democratic Municipal Chairman; Richard “Buzz” Dressel, the business manager of IBEW Local 164; and former Bergen County Superior Court Judge Daniel Mecca.

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Eyeing governor's office, Merkt gets out of the blocks on the streets of Mendham

Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham) hits his stride in his hometown.: Politicker photoAssemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham) hits his stride in his hometown.: Politicker photo 

MENDHAM - Despite the corruption headlines and the vaunted presence of the man most believe will be the GOP frontrunner in next year’s gubernatorial primary, Assemblyman Rick Merkt (R-Mendham) charged out on the campaign trail today in this high-end leafy burgh where both he and U.S. Attorney Chris Christie reside.

"My plan is to hit a couple of towns each day I go out and just talk to people," said Merkt, 59, attired in jogging gear and hitting a good stride on Cold Hill Lane on the eastern edge of Mendham.

The self-described New Jersey nationalist started in front of St. Joseph’s Church on Main Street. "You just missed him," Mendham Mayor Neil J. Henry, Jr., had said of Merkt. "But if you go now, you might be able to catch him, he’s headed for Brookside."

Half a mile away, the determined figure of the 11-year veteran assemblyman was spied as he headed into a shady straightaway.

"My purpose is threefold," the corporate attorney candidate told "I want to get to know people, I want people to get to know me, and I want to get in shape. If I can get in shape, it proves I can get the state in shape."

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The Back Room

National progressive group backs Watson Coleman in CD12

The Progressive Democrats of America Co-Founder and National Director Tim Carpenter and State Chair Mary Ellen Marino today endorsed Bonnie Watson Coleman for the Democratic nomination in the 12thCongressional District.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 24, 2014

Organization to honor Gov. KeanAn event next month for Community Options, Inc. will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the organization's founding and honor Governor Tom Kean, Sr., a was an advocate over 25 years ago for bringing individuals with developmental disabilities out of state institutions into small group homes.Robert...

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How the City of Paterson became a city in crisis

By HAYTHAM YOUNES As the May 13th election for Paterson officials nears, I've noticed a lot of candidates running using slogans and empty promises as if they weren't around watching Paterson get to where it's at today. I think it's important that... Read More >


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Quote of the Day

Quote of the day

"This is the only Tea Party group that endorsed Mitt Romney. These guys are the Vichy French of the Tea Party movement. They're the guys who say 'Viva la France,' and then you can't find them when the fighting starts. Come on." - GOP strategist Rick Shaftan, on the Independence Hall Tea Party group.



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