Corzine in Iraq

Speaking from Iraq on a scheduled but unannounced visit days after a New Jersey soldier died from wounds suffered from a mortar round, Gov. Jon Corzine said coordinated attacks in the battle-scarred country are down dramatically with New Jersey troops performing their jobs admirably.

He adamantly said the trip was not a smokescreen to cover an economic crisis at home. 

"There is no reason on earth one wouldn't think it is the responsibility of the governor in the largest deployment of citizen soldiers, that when the Department of Defense organizes a visit I've been requesting for three to four months, that I wouldn't (go to Iraq)," Corzine told reporters in an afternoon conference call.

Hoping to show his gratitude for the works and sacrifices of those soldiers "who protect the rest of us," the governor toured Camp Bucca in Umm Qasr, a detention facility for about 15,000 people, which is 25 percent staffed by personnel from New Jersey.

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Reilly joins Codey staff

Matt Reilly, the former deputy chief of the Star-Ledger statehouse bureau, will be the new communications director for the Senate Democrats. An award-winning journalist, Reilly replaces Jim Manion, a former Associated Press statehouse reporter who is retiring after a long career in the Senate Democratic office.

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Dublin to give up freeholder chairmanship

Hudson County Freeholder Jeff Dublin will relinquish his chairmanship to Freeholder Doreen DiDomenico at the board’s reorganization meeting tonight, Dublin said today.

The chairmanship has rotated among the freeholders each year since Silverio “Sal” Vega, who was chairman for eight years, left the board in 2006.  Dublin, who held the post in 2008, was hoping to hold on to it for at least another year.

“The freeholders are going to meet amongst ourselves today and stick with this one year rotation for now,” said Dublin, who added that the board would consider instituting a three year term as chairman starting in 2012. 

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Corzine visits troops in Iraq

Corzine visits troops in Iraq
Gov. Jon Corzine

Gov. Jon Corzine made a surprise visit to Iraq today and plans to give a noon conference call detailing his acivities.

Following his arrival today in the Middle Eastern country, the governor visited U.S. troops at Camp Bucca, a prison camp maintained by the U.S. military, according to sources.

The AP reports that Corzine is traveling with Govs. Rick Perry of Texas and Chris Gregoire of Washington.

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Lonegan camp says they qualify for matching funds

Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan has raised enough campaign cash to receive matching funds from the state, according to his strategist, Rick Shaftan.

Shaftan didn’t have the exact numbers, but he said that Lonegan has raised over $340,000 – the threshold to receive two dollars for every dollar he raises beyond the $109,000 deductible.

If the contributions are verified, Lonegan will start out with about $802,000.

“The last six to eight weeks has been all fundraising,” said Shaftan.

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Holt decides to run for assembly instead of state senate

Holt decides to run for assembly instead of state senate
Hunterdon County Freeholder Matt Holt will run for the assembly, not the state senate

The three way race for senate in the 23rd Legislative District has been narrowed down to two.

Hunterdon County Freeholder Matt Holt, who had already declared his candidacy for state senate, has opted instead to run for one of the two possible assembly seats that will soon open up.  Both incumbents, Assembly members Marcia Karrow (R-Flemington) and Mike Doherty (R-Washington Twp.) are running to replace Congressman-elect Leonard Lance in the state Senate. 

"My mission to represent the 23rd District in the Legislature will not change.  I repeat my pledge to run a campaign based on issues, and to be a unifying force that all Republicans can rally around to further the goals of the party,” said Holt in a statement.  “Low taxes, responsible government, transparency, and impeccable integrity can be the hallmarks of New Jersey governance.  I continue my total commitment to these principles.” 

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Rule him out of District 36 Assembly run, says Scarpelli

Rule him out of District 36 Assembly run, says Scarpelli
Nutley Commissioner Joe Scarpelli

In a legislative district where some Republicans sense opportunity, Nutley Commissioner Joseph Scarpelli says he does not intend to run for the Assembly this year in the 36th.

“You can rule it out, I’m not interested,” the Republican commissioner told “I’m happy doing what I’m doing.

Scarpelli earned a seat on the commission last year, taking over for his father, former Mayor Peter Scarpelli, who retired from elected office.

Sources say Nutley Mayor Joanne Cocchiola likewise does not intend to pursue a run for the Assembly, while Nutley businessman Carmen Pio Costa remains interested but has not yet formally declared his intentions.

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The Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 29th

Belmar mayor's race: a wave of post-Sandy project politics stirs up seaside Monmouth borough BELMAR - When Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty rolled out his re-election campaign in February, he did so still basking in the glow of what many residents of the 6,000-person Monmouth County seaside borough saw...

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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 >


My Republican Hillary Clinton Experience    There is a veritable plethora of reportage in print, internet, television and radio media speculating as to whether Hillary Clinton will seek the Democratic... more »
(8-27-14) All Americans Should Support Gov. Perry - Political prosecutions have no place in American life. Those who use the justice system as they are using it in Texas... 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

"Christie’s method for coping with scandal has been more complicated. In January, the seemingly-local issue of lane closings on the George Washington Bridge, which created a massive traffic jam in the Hudson River town of Fort Lee, became one of national interest when it was revealed that one of Christie’s closest staffers had ordered them—for what looked like political retribution against a Democratic mayor. The scandal was quickly dubbed 'Bridgegate,' and unfortunately for Christie, it played into his reputation as a bully. Christie's response was to act unlike himself: humble." - Olivia Nuzzi

- The Daily Beast


Who is a better field general for his party as both try to win governor's races around the country?:


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