Bryant can't use campaign funds for defense bills

Disgraced former state Sen. Wayne Bryant will not be able to use campaign funds to pay for his legal offense, according to report from the Associated Press.

Bryant was convicted last month of every count of bribery and pension fraud brought against him by federal authorities.

Earlier this year, before the verdict, Bryant’s lawyers asked the Election Law Enforcement Commission whether he could use $640,000 in left over campaign funds to pay his lawyer bills. When the advisory commission said that it was not permissible, Bryant’s attorneys tried again with an appeals court.

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Sussex County Republican chairman steps down to run for freeholder

Sussex County Republican chairman steps down to run for freeholder
Sussex County Republican Chairman Richard Zeoli has already emerged as the establishment candidate for freeholder next year

Sussex County Republican Chairman Richard Zeoli will step down from his leadership post to run for the freeholder seat being vacated by seven-year incumbent Glen Vetrano, who has decided not to seek reelection next year.

Zeoli, 33, has been chairman of the county’s dominant party since 2003.

“I have a real love for this county and a belief that it’s time to give back. I was encouraged by a lot of elected officials,” said Zeoli.

Zeoli will run on a slate with Assemblywoman Alison Littell Mchose (R-Franklin Twp.), Assemblyman Gary Chiusano (R-Franklin Twp.), incumbent Freeholder Susan Zellman and Surrogate Nancy Fitzgibbons. He also said that he has the formal endorsement of Vetrano.

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BCDO meets on Monday to discuss Ferriero

BCDO meets on Monday to discuss Ferriero
Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero has been on a leave of absence since September.

On Monday, the executive committee of the Bergen County Democratic Organization will meet, ostensibly to talk about finances, review and renew party bylaws.  But there's little doubt that the main topic of conversation will be what to do about their County Chairman, Joseph Ferriero.

Ferriero has taken a background role in the party since being indicted on eight corruption counts in September, after which he took a leave of absence as chairman.  But Ferriero has stayed involved in the party's inner workings, and, according to several sources, is confident that he will be able to beat the charges against him and wants to keep his post.

Several prominent Democrats who have long been allied with Ferriero defended him in the immediate aftermath of the indictment, and many still insist that it appeared politically motivated.  Still, even Ferriero's staunchest backers are said to be coming around to the idea that his leadership of the party is politically untenable in a potentially dangerous electoral climate next year.

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Chertoff returns to Union County roots

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff will reflect on his time in office and discuss the nation’s preparedness at a special 9 a.m. appearance on Thursday, Dec. 4, at Kean University in Union. 

A former U.S. Attorney in New Jersey and Elizabeth native, Chertoff has served as the country’s chief security officer since 2005.

Assemblyman Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield), a friend of Chertoff’s, arranged the speaking event with the college.

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Republican splinter group calls for Rumana's resignation as Passaic chairman

A splinter group of Republicans in Passaic County has asked the county’s GOP committee members to encourage Chairman Scott Rumana to resign by January 1.

GOP Strong, which counts former Passaic County Republican Chairmen Mike Mecca and Peter Murphy among its leaders, issued a letter today to county committee members and “concerned Republicans” arguing that Rumana, who’s also an assemblyman, has failed to revive the beleaguered party.

“Nowhere are the failings of the Republican Party more evident than in Passaic County, where the party chairman Scott Rumana has presided over a string of electoral failures that are disheartening and disappointing,” read the letter, which is signed by Mecca.

Mecca said that after presiding over three straight election losses as a county chairman, he resigned, realizing that it was difficult to balance being an elected official and party chairman at the same time.

I knew that when I lost three elections in arrow, it was time for a change. And Mr. Rumana has lost every county-wide election as chairman including freeholder, county clerk and sheriff races,” he said. 

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Merkt covers a lot of roadway as his campaign tries to gain traction

Merkt covers a lot of roadway as his campaign tries to gain traction
Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham)

When Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham) officially kicked off his gubernatorial campaign on Oct. 22, it proved no awesome headline-grabbing event just days before an historic presidential election.

But the 12-year veteran of the Assembly and long-shot candidate for the Republican nomination for governor said he made his declaration when he did because he was steamed over news about the way Democrats during the Codey administration managed a state fund supposedly dedicated to property tax relief.

 Merkt believes that his money notwithstanding, millionaire Gov. Jon Corzine will present Republicans with a soft target next year.

 “Let’s face it, he wanted to be Secretary of Treasury and didn’t get it,” said Merkt. “He’s running for governor as a consolation prize. And his wealth can be turned against him. I think you point out to the people that here’s a guy who spent $65 million to run for the U.S. Senate and $40 million to run for governor, and for that we got three years of misery and suffering and a declining economy.”

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Weinberg picked for judiciary committee

State Senate President Dick Codey (D-West Orange) today appointed state Sen. Loretta Weinberg to fill a vacant seat on the Judiciary Committee.

“Loretta Weinberg is an ideal choice for the Senate Judiciary Committee,” said Senator Codey in a statement. “Few members rival her passion and commitment to justice and equality. She brings with her an independent spirit and nuanced approach to government that will help ensure a thorough vetting of all gubernatorial nominees, particularly judicial candidates.”

The seat opens up as state Sen. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill) prepares to resign after being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Codey earlier tapped state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) to chair the committee.

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The Back Room

Monmouth Shore Local Newspaper, The Two River Times, Gets New Owner

The Two River Times, a weekly local newspaper covering affluent towns on along the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers, was sold earlier this month. On July 11, Domenic M. DiPiero III of Rumson, bought the quirky community newspaper from its previous owner, Michael "Mickey" Gooch.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: July 31st

  Christie to Newark hecklers: 'I've spent as much time in Newark as anyone else' BELMAR - Gov. Chris Christie's got nothing but love for The Brick City, or so he says. In response to a Newark school student here today -- a 17-year-old president of the Newark Student Union...

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The health of New Jersey's women is not Chris Christie's priority

By Linda Stender At his most recent town hall, Gov. Chris Christie accused his predecessors of "monkeying with the math" when it comes to their handling of our state's economy. But as the old saying goes, when the governor points a finger, he... Read More >


(7-30-14) Who Is Best Equipped to Decide the Fate of the Common Core? - The latest Christie controversy surrounds his Executive Order to revamp the state’s academic... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... 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

"Go to Mayor [Cory] Booker and ask him if he thinks in the years that he was mayor if I ignored Newark. The fact is I've spent as much time in Newark as anyone else." - Gov. Chris Christie

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