Menendez officially appointed DSCC chairman

Menendez officially appointed DSCC chairman
U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), right, with his predecessor as Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)

It’s official.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this morning turned over the reigns of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to New Jersey’s Bob Menendez, the group’s vice-chair (D-Hoboken). 

“Our Caucus will be well-served by Bob Menendez, whose mastery of policy is matched only by his mastery of politics,” said Reid in a statement.

Schumer departs with a successful track record, presiding over the Democrats’ takeover of the Senate in 2006 and further gains this year.  Menendez said he hopes to build on that. 

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Rice reserves judgment in Irvington case

Rice reserves judgment in Irvington case
Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Essex)

TRENTON- Challenged by Mayor Wayne Smith and Team Irvington in his squeak-out, off-the-line re-election victory last year, state Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Essex) said he hopes Smith did not authorize Keith Reid to accept a $5,000 bribe on his behalf – which is what Reid told a jury in Newark earlier today.

“Wayne is a real hard working mayor, always has been, and he’s committed to his township,” said Rice, who in 2007 fended off a challenge by Smith ally Councilman L. Bilal Beasely after Smith himself expressed a desire to go up against Rice.

“Hopefully that’s not the case,” Rice added of the under-oath statement by Reid, former chief of staff of Newark City Council President Mildred Crump.

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Sarlo non-lawyer status doesn't worry fellow Judiciary Committee members

Sarlo non-lawyer status doesn't worry fellow Judiciary Committee members
Sen. Joseph Kyrillos (R-Monmouth)

TRENTON – Members of the state Senate Judiciary Committee this evening responded favorably to news that state Sen. President Richard Codey (D-Essex) is poised to name state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen) as committee chairman.

No one expressed any concern that Sarlo, an engineer by trade – lacks legal training.

“Paul’s an able guy and he’s been in the senate several years now,” said state Sen. Joseph Kyrillos (R-Monmouth). “He will bring a non-attorney’s perspective, which I think will be refreshing to many. I would urge Paul to take our institutional responsibility seriously, that we should not be and the people expect us not to be, a rubber stamp for the executive branch, despite the fact that governor and majority party are the same party.”

In terms of Sarlo’s close relationship with Codey, whom critics of the senate president regard as a control freak, Kyrillos said, “That’s not news.”

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Senate signs off on six bills in bigger Corzine economic stimulus package

Senate signs off on six bills in bigger Corzine economic stimulus package
Gov. Jon Corzine

TRENTON - Emerging from passing six bills, part of a larger, nine-bill $245 million economic recovery plan championed by Gov. Jon Corzine - senators in both parties agreed that the work today represents only a small part of what’s required. 

Predictably, Democrats and some dissenting Republicans diverged starkly on fundamentals, with key GOP reps doubtful about enabling government to work as a problem solver, and Democrats digging in to take another big crack at the problem with that all-purpose tool: government.

“I think today New Jersey took a step in the right direction,” said state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen), whose EDA Main Street Assistance bill dishes $50 million to help jumpstart small businesses. “We recognize this needs to be solved on the national level. But although a lot of Republicans talked, many of them came with us in the end.”

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Doherty and Karrow look for support in each others' counties

As the battle to replace outgoing state Sen. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton) takes shape, the two declared candidates are beginning to make incursions outside of their home bases.

Assemblyman Mike Doherty (R-Washington Township), a Warren County legislator who began his campaign a day after he learned that Lance was moving up to Congress, feels encouraged by the response he’s received from the Hunterdon County committee men and women he’s met on the campaign trail so far. But some insiders argue that Assemblywoman Marcia Karrow (R-Flemington), a Hunterdon County native who just made her candidacy official last week, should not be counted out among the Warren County committee members, despite local contentions that the county will be in lock-step behind Doherty.

A third candidate, Hunterdon County Freeholder Matthew Holt, appears to be ready to run, and will formally announce his bid either next week or the week after.

The county committee members from Hunterdon and Warren Counties will meet in either January or early February to decide who gets to be Lance’s interim replacement in the state senate. In June, a primary will be held to determine who gets to remain on the ballot for the November general election, when voters will select a candidate to fill the two remaining years of Lance’s term in this safely Republican district.

This race is more complicated than a regional battle between the Hunterdon and Warren County Republican organizations.

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Monmouth GOP sources bemoan mistakes in freeholder race

GOP sources in Monmouth County are complaining about party campaign tactics in the Monmouth County Freeholder race in which Democrat Amy Mallet of Fair Haven narrowly defeated Republican John Curley of Middletown.

One source cited two fundamental problems with the Republican campaign of Freeholder Director Lillian Burry (who won) and her unsuccessful running mate, Curley – neither of which involved the candidates.

Critics believe Curley should have won and could have with a more focused Republican strategy, and highlight real blunders they say undermined his chances.

First, fearful of upping her name ID, Republicans intentionally resisted attacking Mallet, the beneficiary with her running mate of $2 million in face time over the course of last year’s District 12 Assembly race.

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Kramer: diversification of pension funds prevented further losses

Kramer: diversification of pension funds prevented further losses
New Jersey State Investment Council Chairman Orin Kramer

Hedge fund manager Orin Kramer, who heads the New Jersey Investment Council, wants to set the record straight: the state pension fund’s losses would have been worse if he hadn’t begun diversifying its portfolio six years ago.

Kramer disputed a report that appeared on PolitickerNJ.com last week that contended he presided over the loss of $25 billion from New Jersey’s pension fund.  Upon taking the post in 2002, Kramer said that he recognized the need to for the state’s multi-billion dollar fund to diversify its holdings.  New Jersey, he said, stood alone in the proportion of stocks to other assets that its pension fund held.

“The reason that I joined the council is because New Jersey had the most undiversified, equity-heavy portfolio of any major comparable institutional fund in the country,” said Kramer.  “Compared to every major endowment, corporate pension fund and public pension fund, New Jersey was uniquely undiversified and heavily dependent on equities.”

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The Back Room

Christie v. Astorino in Aspen

Dismissed by Republican Governors' Association (RGA) Chairman Chris Christie, New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino plans to confront his tormentor tonight at a GOP fundraiser in Aspen.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: July 23rd

Between RGA gigs, Christie doesn't skip a beat bashing Trenton Dems at seaside LGI town hall LONG BEACH ISLAND – Gov. Chris Christie squeezed LBI between trips to IowaNew HampshireConnecticut and – tomorrow – Colorado – just long enough to puncture his favorite Trenton-based targets in front of a...

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Op-Ed

Legislation needed to restore balance in election financing

By JEFF BRINDLE Much has been written about the magnitude of campaign spending by independent special interest groups.  But until now, there has been little discussion about the impact. During the 2012 Presidential and Congressional contests,... Read More >

Contributors

 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »
(7-23-14) Rabner Opinion Keeps “Christie for President” Alive - Gov. Chris Christie’s fight to prevent same-sex marriage in New Jersey ended with Chief Justice Stuart Rabner.... more »
The Perry-Paul Debate is Healthy for the GOP – and for America  The foreign policy debate in the media between prospective GOP Presidential candidates Texas Governor Rick Perry and... more »
(Washington DC)-- Two recent votes on Capitol Hill suggest an overdue and radical departure from our nation's Draconian and costly War on Drugs.  It's a long-overdue discussion (and not just... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

“We lived up to our end of the bargain. He didn’t live up to his end of the deal.” - Ed Connolly, president of the New Jersey Firemen’s Benevolent Association.

- The Bergen Record

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