GOP gubernatorial candidates meet for the first time at Somerset women's forum

GOP gubernatorial candidates meet for the first time at Somerset women's forum
From left to right: Steve Lonegan, Chris Christie, Brian D. Levine, Richard Merkt.

BRANCHBURG – The Lonegan forces tried to bill this event as “the Thrilla in Branchburg.”

But it proved no Ali-Frazier III this morning, and probably rated little better than the Republican gubernatorial primary of 1985 in terms of give and take, as four 2009 Republican candidates for governor assembled for the first time at a breakfast meeting sponsored by the Somerset County Federation of Republican Women at the Fox Hollow Golf Club.

Amid rumors that former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan planned to set a confrontational tone, former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, the presumptive frontrunner, gave Lonegan and/or anyone else little room to generate drama.

After arriving moments before the event began, speedily working the room and delivering a five-minute set of remarks, Christie told the crowd of 150 people that he had to attend his son’s basketball game and hoped they understood.

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Christie on chamber trip: 'I make my own decisions'

Christie on chamber trip: 'I make my own decisions'
Former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie receives a Somerset County welcome from state Sen. Kip Bateman (R-Somerset), center, and Christopher Erd, vice-chair of Branchburg's GOP Municipal Committee.

BRANCHBURG – Former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie today defended his decision not to attend the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce’s Walk to Washington event, arguing that it was obvious how the annual chamber trip has become a symbol of what is wrong with state politics.

To the point that key Republican allies and GOP leaders were on the train and did not appear to consider their condition morally compromised, the Republican candidate for governor said, “I make my own decisions.”

Christie was here in Branchburg this morning to participate in a candidates’ forum sponsored by the Somerset County Federation of Republican Women.

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Obama taps ex-Holt aide for White House post

Joshua DuBois, a former aide to U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-Hopewell), will run the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The 26-year-old Minister, who completed graduate school at Princeton University, directed the religious outreach program for the Obama campaign during the 2008 cycle.

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Democrats won't take Middlesex for granted

Democrats won't take Middlesex for granted
Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville), left, and Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce (R-Parisipanny-Troy Hills), come into each other's wheel house on the chamber train.

NEW BRUNSWICK - Intent on reviving the Reagan legacy during last year’s presidential election, Republicans established their campaign base camp in the Woodbridge area and jumped on the telephones in search of suburban white voters who might identify with the patriotic and moderate elements of U.S. Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) candidacy.

If President Barack Obama stumbled in his bid, the GOP wanted to be in a position to rev up the diner and bowling pin and VFW Hall crowds, but it never happened.

With Obama in cruise control and the game changed when McCain moved rightward with his selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, Middlesex County finally went heavily for the Illinois senator: 60 to 38.5% - a margin not as wide as Essex (76 to 23%); or Hudson (73 to 26%), and right around the percentages registered by neighboring Union County (64 to 35%).

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Sources: party at Bramnick home should bet Christie $60k

Sources: party at Bramnick home should bet Christie $60k
Assembly Minority Whip Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) is a possible candidate for Lt. Governor if Chris Christie wins the GOP nomination for Governor.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – There’s Assembly Whip Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) at Union Station and someone on the move cries out to him, “Hey, it’s the lieutenant governor,” and Bramnick grins and waves, playing along with GOP buzz that he’s short list candidate for the number two spot on a gubernatorial ticket topped by former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie.

“I’m well trained for the job,” Bramnick cracks to a gaggle of reporters wiaiting to catch the Chamber of Commerce train back to New Jersey. “I tell people I’m from District 21 and they look right through me. Then I tell them it’s Tom Kean’s district and suddenly they warm up.”

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Kasparian won't punish Democratic faction in Dist. 37 with a primary challenge

Kasparian won't punish Democratic faction in Dist. 37 with a primary challenge
Newly-elected Bergen County Democratic Chairman Michael Kasparian says he won't support a primary challenge agianst two Democratic legislators who did not back his campaign to succeed Joseph Ferriero.

New Bergen County Democratic Organization (BCDO) Chairman Michael Kasparian wants to avoid a primary blowup in a gubernatorial election year, and to that end today made it clear he has only olive branch intentions when it comes to Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood) and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Englewood).

There will be no organizational primary challenge to the two 37th District incumbents this year, he said, depite Huttle and Johnson’s initial intransigence regarding Kasparian’s candidacy and his perceived closeness to jettisoned BCDO Chairman Joseph Ferriero.

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DiMaio lands support of Warren sheriff

DiMaio lands support of Warren sheriff
Warren County Freeholder John DiMaio

The GOP Assembly race in the 23rd District continues, as Warren County Freeholder John DiMaio today secured the endorsement of three-term Warren County Sheriff Sal Simonetti.   

“I have always known John to be a steward of the taxpayers monies and in Trenton, I have 100% confidence that he will be just as vigilant in his work to reduce the size of government while returning more money to the local entities, Simonetti said in a statement.

“As a law enforcement officer, I recognize the need for dedicated and ethical elected officials who truly understand what it means to be a public servant,” the sheriff added. In John, the residents of the 23rd District can be assured they are getting a man of character, integrity and who possesses the acumen necessary to be a leader in the State Legislature.”

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Corzine joins Reporters Roundtable panel tonight

Corzine joins Reporters Roundtable panel tonight
Gov. Jon Corzine finishes the NJN taping session.

WOODLEY PARK – NJN political director Michael Aron sits on a stage in a ballroom here at the Marriot in Washington, D.C., taping Reporters Roundtable in front of a live audience on the occasion of the 72nd annual New Jersey Chamber Trip.

Joining Aron and three reporters is Gov. Jon Corzine, who argues the necessity of President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan and answers some questions about the unfolding gubernatorial campaign, including former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie’s campaign kickoff next Wednesday. 

“There will be significant political debate and I welcome it; it will make for a better end result,” Corzine says. But “while we’re trying to think about rationalizing a budget, it is better for those of us sitting in office to stay focused on those issues.” 


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The Back Room

Christie campaigns in New Hampshire

When asked in New Hamsphire today about whether he was considering a presidential run in 2016, Gov. Chris Christie said he wouldn’t discuss his plans until after November.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 17th

U.S. Senate race: Bell defends gold standard stance MONTCLAIR - On the same day he was politically brickbatted by the chief adviser to the last Republican challenger to incumbent U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), GOP Senate candidate Jeff Bell stood by a key plank of policy platform: monetary reform...

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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 >


(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 »
The Correct Foreign Policy – Neither Fortress America Nor Pax Americana      Last week marked the 75th anniversary of the beginning of World War 2.  It started with the... 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

“Clearly there’s some resemblance with Theodore Roosevelt. That direct confrontational style of leadership.” - historian Doris Hearns Goodwin, referring to Gov. Chris Christie.

- The Times of Trenton


Who would make the best running mate for Chris Christie if he lands the GOP nomination for president?:


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