Voting underway now in Clinton in a larger context as Lonegan makes an appearance

Voting underway now in Clinton in a larger context as Lonegan makes an appearance
Former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan

CLINTON - Now a long line of people moves toward the stage to vote, 184 committee people from Hunterdon and 160 from Warren, according to unconfirmed joint committee sources.

"I'm glad they decided to do this professionally with voting machines, taking a page from Dale Florio over there in Somerset County," says Hunterdon County Freeholder William Mennen.

Just before the crowd breaks to vote, there are unmistakable implications of stagecraft, as former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan can be seen lingering on one side of the room, the anti-establishment Republican candidate for governor, balancing out the organizational presence on the other side of GOP operative Mark Duffy and former U.S. Senate candidate Dick Zimmer.

"I'm here backing Doherty," says Lonegan. "Marcia's good, but Mike has a terrific record. He's backed me in the past, and now I'm backing him."

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Karrow presents herself as rural and local

Karrow presents herself as rural and local
Assemblywoman Marcia Karrow (R-Raritan Twp.)

CLINTON – Her father’s struggles in the Depression shaped Assemblywoman Marcia Karrow’s (R-Raritan Twp.) conservatism, she tells the crowd of Warren and Hunterdon County county committee people. 

Unlike her opponent, Assemblyman Michael Doherty (R-Washington Twp.), Karrow, 49, grew up here in the 23rd District, daughter of a local public official, who knows about barn building and bringing in the hay. She goes hardcore local in an emotional speech.

“Those of you who were born here know about taking care of one another,” she says. “My passion as a public servant comes from that. You’re my passion.”

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Doherty presents himself as the fiscal and social conservative

Doherty presents himself as the fiscal and social conservative
Assemblyman Michael Doherty (R-Washington Twp.)

CLINTON – His name’s in and Assemblyman Michael Doherty (R-Washington Twp.) strides across the stage in front of the burgundy curtain, a 45-year old retired Army captain, 6 ft. 2 and ramrod at the podium now, telling the crowd he wants government out of people’s lives and out of their wallets. 

To win today, Doherty will need to prove he did the political legwork in Hunterdon County, which has about 40 more county committee seats than Doherty’s Warren County.  His allies say he has them, thanks to his vanguard role as a movement conservative, and it doesn't take long for the boom to come into his voice as he tries to prove his viability. 

“I’ve run in a lot of hard primaries, ladies and gentlemen, but I’m the senior guy for a reason,” Doherty cries. “Voters are pretty smart. They know who the Reagan conservative is. I’m always been the top voter, ladies and gentlemen, in Hunterdon and Warren counties."

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Nominating speeches moments away

Nominating speeches moments away
State Sen. Minority Leader Thomas Kean (R-Union) and Hunterdon County Freeholder William Mennen to his immediate left.

CLINTON TWP. - Hackettstown Mayor Michael B. Lavery nominates Assemblyman Michael Doherty (R-Washington Twp.) and Raritan Twp. Mayor Richard O'Malley backs him up.

"Mike has an overwhelming passion to vote against taxes, as you see in your packets, he's voted 103 times against taxes," O'Malley tells the packed house.

In the back of the crowd stands State Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr. (R-Union).

"I'm neutral," says Kean of the Karrow-Doherty showdown. "I will support the Republican nominee."

He removes an envelope from his pocket.

"There is a senate pin in there that I will present to the winner," says Kean.

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It has begun

It has begun
Hunterdon County GOP Chairman Henry Kuhl

CLINTON - The middle school sits on the side of  Route 78 and a packed parking lot gives an early indication that turnout is heavy for this special Republican Convention where committee members from Warren and Hunterdon counties will determine the party nominee for state senator in the 23rd District.

Both candidates, Assemblyman Marcia Karrow (R-Raritan Twp.), the Hunterdon-based candidate - and Assemblyman Michael Doherty (R-Washington Twp.) from Warren, work the coming throng in the hallway outside the auditorium, where voting will occur.

"The guy's a political animal," says a political insider, observing Doherty going for people's hands even before their gloves are off as they come through the big double doors and into the school.

And there's Karrow,

She's mobbed by committee people just before they go through the hallway doors.

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Republicans to fill Lance seat today

Today is Election Day in parts of Hunterdon and Warren counties, where members of the Republican County Committee from the 23rd legislative district will hold a special election convention to replace Leonard Lance in the State Senate.  Lance resigned from the Senate on January 3 to take his seat in Congress.

Two Republicans are seeking to replace Lance: four-term Assemblyman Michael Doherty, 45, a former Warren County Freeholder and West Point graduate; and Marcia Karrow, 49, a two-term Assemblywoman who has served as a Hunterdon County Freeholder and as Mayor of Raritan Township.

 Doherty is viewed as one of the most conservative members of the Legislature and has mulled bids for higher office in recent years, including an exploratory committee for the 2008 U.S. Senate nomination.  He was he only legislator to back Ron Paul for President in the last election.  Karrow, a graduate of Smith College, has masters degrees from the University of Michigan and CUNY.  She  is viewed as a moderate and has the backing of the Hunterdon County Republican organization and eight mayors from Warren County.

The winner will get sworn in to the Senate at their next session, now scheduled for February 23.  The Senate contest will trigger another special election convention to fill the soon-to-be vacant Assembly seat.

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Hackett gets five years from state judge, but can get paroled after six months

Former Assemblyman Mims Hackett was sentenced to five years in state prison after admitting that the filed fake expense reimbursements while serving as Mayor of Orange.  He has already been sentenced to nine months in federal prison after his guilty plea on corruption charges last year.  The state Judge ruled that he can serve the sentences concurrently and will be eligible for parole after serving six months if he is admitted to a supervised program that includes house arrest.

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Sybil Moses, retired Superior Court Judge, dies

Former Superior Court Judge Sybil Moses, the first woman to serve as an Assignment Judge in New Jersey, passed away today.  She was 69 and had breast cancer.

Moses retired in October 2008 after 21 years as a Superior Court Judge and seven as an Administrative Law Judge. Her husband is attorney Steve Moses, a longtime Democratic insider.

Read More >

The Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 29th

Belmar mayor's race: a wave of post-Sandy project politics stirs up seaside Monmouth borough BELMAR - When Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty rolled out his re-election campaign in February, he did so still basking in the glow of what many residents of the 6,000-person Monmouth County seaside borough saw...

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Op-Ed

White House’s Tuition Challenge Being Met in NJ

By MICHAEL W. KLEIN In his weekly radio address on August 16, President Obama challenged colleges “to do their part to bring down costs” and lighten the tuition burden on students.  The state colleges and universities in New Jersey have... Read More >

Contributors

My Republican Hillary Clinton Experience    There is a veritable plethora of reportage in print, internet, television and radio media speculating as to whether Hillary Clinton will seek the Democratic... more »
(8-27-14) All Americans Should Support Gov. Perry - Political prosecutions have no place in American life. Those who use the justice system as they are using it in Texas... 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

"Christie’s method for coping with scandal has been more complicated. In January, the seemingly-local issue of lane closings on the George Washington Bridge, which created a massive traffic jam in the Hudson River town of Fort Lee, became one of national interest when it was revealed that one of Christie’s closest staffers had ordered them—for what looked like political retribution against a Democratic mayor. The scandal was quickly dubbed 'Bridgegate,' and unfortunately for Christie, it played into his reputation as a bully. Christie's response was to act unlike himself: humble." - Olivia Nuzzi

- The Daily Beast

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