Levine maintains low-key presence on the trail with jobs/economy focus

Levine maintains low-key presence on the trail with jobs/economy focus
Franklin Mayor Brian D. Levine

Since the Republican candidates for governor began touring the events circuit together a little over a week ago, Franklin Township Mayor Brian D. Levine has tried to position himself as the foursome’s expert on job growth and economic issues.

“My candidacy is based on my background as a CPA and corporate person, and as a mayor with a strong focus on economy and jobs creation in my town,” Levine said. “That’s where I’m coming from right now. I’m trying to show people from a town perspective that we’ve had our share of job growth and getting business in and that’s a microcosm of what I would like to do statewide.” 

While former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan and Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham) have so far mostly tried to outmuscle one another on the affordable housing issue, the 50-year old, pro-choice Republican moderate has run under the radar with his jobs and economy message.

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Regardless of organizational agreements, Doherty committed to running 'on issues'

Regardless of organizational agreements, Doherty committed to running 'on issues'
Assemblyman Michael Doherty (R-Washington Twp.)

Assemblyman Michael Doherty (R-Washington Twp) prided himself on never schmoozing with the power elite in Warren County, but now that he’s been abruptly shut out of organizational channels in the aftermath of his loss last month in a special convention bid for state Senate, he’s going into full-gear, good-government outsider mode. 

“Part of what distinguishes me from Marcia Karrow is my position on debt and wanting voter approval,” said Doherty. “In this case, people need to come out of their ivory towers and see where the taxpayers are before they borrow money to build a library on the Delaware River. ...I have been working on this issue for over a year now.  What is precipitating my action now is the Freeholders’ announcement last week to move forward with their $26 million (library) building. ”

A prime Assembly sponsor of the Lance Amendment requiring voter approval for all state borrowing, Doherty plans to attend the Warren County Freeholders’ meeting on Wednesday evening armed with a similar resolution he wants the freeholders to adopt on the county level.

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Monmouth County GOP standout changes parties

Monmouth County GOP standout changes parties

MARLBORO – The Iraq War vet who once exhorted a crowd of Monmouth Republicans to "cowboy-up" in the cause of his campaign, has donned the dreaded black hat of the opposition.  

Councilman Jeff Cantor, a 2007 Republican candidate for Monmouth County Freeholder who nearly won, has changed parties and become a Democrat, according to a press release issued by the Marlboro Democratic Party.

Once seen as a rising GOP star, Cantor came within a heartbreaking handful of votes of winning his bid for freeholder against John D’Amico. 

Locally, he appeared to be the best-positioned Marlboro Republican to take on new Mayor Jonathan Hornik, a Democrat who in 2007 defeated Robert Kleinberg. 

But he’s happy with Hornik’s work, he said, and noted that “the Democrats are making the needed changes to move our community forward.”

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Morning News Digest: February 10, 2009

Booker defends Corzine's urban record

Booker defends Corzine's urban record
Newark Mayor Cory Booker

NEWARK – If Chris Christie wants to get in Gov. Jon Corzine’s face on the issue of urban renewal, he will have to first get through Mayor Cory Booker, who claimed bragging rights to New Jersey's incumbent governor tonight in his annual state of the city address.

“We stand with you, Jon Corzine, because Jon Corzine stands with Newark,” said Booker, waiting while the packed audience here at historic Symphony Hall, first slowly, then nearly uniformly, stood to applaud the unpopular governor who faces reelection this year and the prospect of battling GOP frontrunner Christie.

The latter’s from Newark originally, and last week he launched his campaign for governor at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center downtown with the promise that he would create tax incentives in New Jersey’s largest urban center as a means of enticing businesses.

While conceding that the times aren’t the best nationally – even globally – Booker adopted a been-there-done-that Democratic response to the energized former U.S. Attorney.

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Vitale: Christie should say if he'll ask Bush or Ashcroft for help

Republican gubernatorial candidate Christopher Christie should say if he will ask former President George Bush or former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft to campaign for him or raise money for his campaign, says State Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Woodbridge). 

Appearing on a Fox morning show today, Christie said he would not ask former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to campaign for him, but sidestepped questions about Bush or Ashcroft. 

"He should answer the question," said Vitale, the Chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

Christie was a top fundraiser for Bush's 2000 presidential campaign before being named U.S. Attorney in 2001.  After leaving the Justice Department, Ashcroft received a federal monitor contract from Christie that could net the ex-Attorney General more than $50 million in fees.

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The guru, the star, and Oprah

The guru, the star, and Oprah
Newark Mayor Cory Booker

NEWARK – Television star Oprah Winfrey’s decision this month to drop a $500,000 gift on Steve Adubato’s North Ward Center effectively stamps out the fuse on a standoff between the North Ward Democratic leader and Winfrey confidante Mayor Cory Booker, in a resolution that underscores the political strengths of the two main combatants.

If Adubato, native Newarker and a grizzled guru now in his seventies, proved his relevance by waging a war in the streets and alleys he has known since childhood, Booker the Bergen County outsider turned Newark activist and statewide star, proved his manna from Heaven connections. 

And the community won in the end, according to sources from both camps, as Adubato’s Blue Ribbon charter school, the Robert Treat Academy - whose students consistently rate higher math and science test scores than students in schools in all of urban New Jersey and all of Essex County - stands to get an unprecedented infusion of funds.

The contribution came with a back story.  

For almost as long as Booker’s been in office, Adubato poked, prodded, cajoled, and chest-thumped in the face of the young star’s particular power, and now sources close to the North Ward leader say he intends to endorse the first term mayor for reelection next year.

It’s been an odd relationship.

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Kuhl will back DiMaio in primary, regardless of convention outcome

FLEMINGTON – Fighting criticism that he’s operating behind the scenes to weaken the chances of two home county candidates in order to protect state Sen. Marcia Karrow (R-Raritan Twp.), Hunterdon County GOP Chairman Henry Kuhl says he simply wants to keep the balance struck between those two counties that contribute to the 23rd Legislative District.

To that end he told Hunterdon County freeholders Matt Holt and Erik Peterson Friday that regardless of who wins the special convention on Feb 21st, he agreed with Warren County GOP chairman Doug Steinhardt to give a third Assembly candidate, Warren County Freeholder John DiMaio, the organization line in the June Republican Primary.

“The premise is to preserve bi-county representation, if possible,” affirmed Steinhardt.

But the move by the two GOP chairmen has generated some blowback as less than two weeks before the convention, DiMaio, Holt and Peterson vie for the Assembly seat Karrow officially vacated today to claim the Senate seat in the 23rd  District with both Kuhl and Steinhart by her side in the Senate chamber.

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The Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 19th

NBC News: Federal charges ruled out for Christie in Bridgegate scandal NBC News tonight is reporting that federal investigators say after nine months of investigating Bridgegate there is 'no evidence" that Gov. Chris Christie had advance knowledge about any politically motivated scheme around the bridge lane closures at the...

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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

Sports and politics do mix: Welcome the next NFL Commissioner, Condi Rice          There are many sports fans who insist on believing that old bromide that sports and politics do... more »
(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 »
(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 »

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