Sources: Kasparian still in fight as Bergen Dems mull consensus alternatives, including Sarlo

Sources: Kasparian still in fight as Bergen Dems mull consensus alternatives, including Sarlo
U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-Fairlawn) wants state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) to serve as Bergen County Democratic Organization interim chairman.

HACKENSACK – The Bergen reformer’s fear is someone disgraced or incarcerated will be running the party, giving orders via cellphone or BlackBerry to drones working in the service of a political patronage system that grinds forward unchanged even as the feds expose and prosecute the upper eschelons. 

But it’s also an election year – for governor, no less – and in that all important, 70-community county of Bergen, which Democrats or Republicans must win in order win it all in 2009 – tampering with the Democratic Party infrastructure and leaving it depleted or less than muscular could give the GOP that one opportunity they’re seeking. 

Indeed, even as Joe Ferriero wrote his letter of resignation as chairman of the Bergen County Democratic Organization (BCDO), former U.S. Attroney Chris Christie – the man whose office last year indicted Ferriero on federal corruption charges – filed his papers to run for governor against Democrat Jon Corzine, setting up that most dramatic contrast of party plot lines, which the GOP wants to translate into crumbling utterly the Dems’ most vulnerable fault line here in Bergen.

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Algeier officially in District 25 Assembly race

Gary Algeier, a former two-term Randolph Township Mayor and 12-year veteran of Council, today formally announced his candidacy for State Assembly in the 25th Legislative District.

“Service in the State Legislature will continue a long tradition of community service,” said Algeier campaign manager Allen Napoliello. “Under Gary’s leadership, Randolph created Randolph’s award winning Freedom Park, preserved over 1000 acres of Open Space and Farmland, and has been a leader in shared services. Mr. Algeier is well known for his leadership in opposing the unreasonable quotas imposed by the Council on Affordable Housing."

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Corzine answers with the argument of government

Corzine answers with the argument of government
Gov. Jon Corzine, right, with senior policy advisor (and former 4th Congressional District candidate) Josh Zeitz

TRENTON – It’s very early, of course. 

But Gov. Jon Corzine at his full-fledged press conference on the fourth floor of the Hughes Justice Center this afternoon, where he was flanked by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and Attorney General Anne Milgram, suggested the déjà all over again feel of Gerry Ford’s defensive posture campaign against Jimmy Carter one day after Corzine’s presumptive chief rival entered the race for governor.  

In that 1976 presidential contest between Carter and Ford, Carter was out in the hinterlands while Ford tracked the sedate and somber steps of good government, immersed in all the symbolic trappings of his office. 

In this case, in the face of repeated Republican put-downs that Democrats with their overt culture of political patronage and government first ask questions afterwards approach, Corzine projected the image of an executive committed to making the engine run as he announced in the midst of a national recession the creation of a new state-supported mortgage foreclosure mediation program.

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Ferriero will resign party post

Ferriero will resign party post
Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero has been on a leave of absence since September.

Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero, under indictment on federal corruption charges, will resign on January 22, and has called a special election to pick a successor.  Ferriero says he is ending his leave of absence effective immediately so that he can help raise money for the party’s January 17 fundraising event.

Ferriero was indicted on September 9 on eight corruption counts of influence peddling with a grants consulting firm he held a financial stake in. A trial is set for September 2009.  He went on a leave of absence just before the indictment was announced.

“Unfortunately, I have recently been required to defend myself against an indictment which has no basis in law or fact.  I have been forced to dedicate my time and energy to clearing my name,” Ferriero wrote in a letter to Democratic leaders.  “I believe that it would adversely affect our party, and our candidates if I were to continue to serve as chairman while on trial several weeks before the November election.  It is for this reason that I am calling a special county committee meeting for January 22, 2009 to elect a successor.  I hereby resign effective on that date.”

Ferriero says that while he had “strenuous disagreements with a few members of the party including (State Sen.) Loretta Weinberg and (U.S. Rep.) Steve Rothman,” he said “we are all Democrats that want what is in the best interest of the party.”

“I am calling on everyone to come together so that we can continue the progress our party has made over the last decade,” he said.

Likely candidates to succeed him are Michael Kasparian, a developer and Democratic fundraiser, and Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union business manager Richard “Buzz” Dressel, a Commissioner of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

Ferriero, 51, was first elected County Chairman in June 1998.  Five months later, Bergen Democrats broke the GOP’s 7-0 majority on the Board of Freeholders by electing Democrats Dennis McNerney and Douglas Bern, and won the race for Sheriff.  Under Ferriero’s leadership, Bergen County now has two Democratic State Senators, McNerney is in his second term as County Executive, and they hold all seven Freeholder seats.  Ferriero has helped Democrats achieve majorities in 25 municipalities.

For now, Ferriero’s resignation ends a 31-year political career that began with his election to the Dumont Borough Council in 1977 at age twenty.

The full text of Ferriero’s letter:

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Algeier to launch 25th District Assembly run

Veteran Randolph Township Councilman Gary Algeier today will officially enter the Republican primary for the Assembly in the 25th Legislative District, according to sources.

 Mulling the possibility of a run for some time now, Algeier informally announced his intentions to members of the Randolph Republican Club on Wednesday night. A Morristown attorney, the long-serving councilman is in a four-way contest for two assembly seats with Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris Twp.), attorney Tony Bucco (son of veteran state Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) and Morris County Freeholder Doug Cabana.

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Poll: Corzine leads Christie, but continues to struggle for voter approval

Poll: Corzine leads Christie, but continues to struggle for voter approval
Gov. Jon Corzine has a 7-point lead over Republican Chris Christie in a new Fairleigh Dickinson University poll. In the GOP primary, Christie, the former U.S. Attorney, has a 17-point lead over former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan.

Gov. Jon Corzine leads Republican Christopher Christie by seven points, 40%-33%, and has a 45%-40% approval rating, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll released this morning.   Christie, the former U.S. Attorney who announced yesterday that he would run for Governor, is unknown to more than half (56%) of the New Jerseyans polled.

In head-to-heads against other Republican candidates, Corzine leads former Bogota Mayor Steven Lonegan, 46%-28%, and Assemblyman Rick Merkt (R-Mendham) by a 43%-23% margin.  Lonegan is unknown to 71% of the state, while 89% don't recognize Merkt.  A fourth candidate, Franklin Township Mayor Brian Levine, was not included in the survey.

In a Republican primary matchup, Christie leads Lonegan 32%-15%, with Merkt running third at 5%. 

Christie has a 50% name ID among Republicans, while Lonegan is at 44% and Merkt is at 14%.

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Laboy prepares to run again in Passaic

Laboy prepares to run again in Passaic
Angel Laboy

PASSAIC - When Angel Laboy lost his city council bid last year to Ken Lucianin by 24 votes, he said he would probably come back this year, and time’s proved him right. 

Laboy, a public school vice principal, is holding a fundraiser on Jan. 15th in which he hopes to lay the groundwork for what he believes will be about a $5,000-$6,000 race for council. 

“I would like to run alone,” he said. “I have been approached to run on a ticket with several of the mayoral candidates, and I’m not ruling it out, but I’m leaning against it.”

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 22nd

Fight of the Week: Donovan v. Pascrell Fight of the Week Bergen County Executive Kathe Donovan v. U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9) (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)     Paramus mayor's race: Candidates in closely-divided Bergen borough spar over taxes, towing issues PARAMUS - When voters go to the polls in November...

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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 >


(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 »
(8-20-14) Can You Take the ‘Partisan’ out of ‘Partisan Politics’? - Redistricting will not take place for another seven years. Yet the debate has already... more »
    My Richard Nixon Ambivalence   Today is the fortieth anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s resignation address to the nation on August 8, 1974. At that time, I was ambivalent about... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

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