Pennacchio accuses Treasury Department of stonewalling

State Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R-Montville) is not satisfied with the response to his OPRA requests to the Treasury Department, claiming that any substantive discussion about why the state invested in the troubled Lehman Brothers financial firm was blacked out in the documents provided to him. 

Pennacchio is investigating how the government lost hundreds of millions in pension funds by investing in Lehman Brothers before its collapse.  He had previously complained that his requests were ignored. 

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Kyrillos: 'We need a leader like Chris Christie'

Kyrillos: 'We need a leader like Chris Christie'
State Sen. Joseph Kyrillos (R-Monmouth)

An old ally today sent up a trumpet blast of support for former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie. 

State Sen. Joseph Kyrillos (R-Monmouth), who swore Christie into office when he served as a Morris County Freeholder, says Christie looks and sounds like a Republican candidate for governor. 

“I spent time over the weekend with my good friend… and I am very encouraged by what I heard,” Kyrillos said in an email he sent today to friends. 

“Chris is being urged to run for governor by Republicans, Independents, and even some prominent Democrats,” Kyrillos wrote. “They've read what the newspapers wrote about what Chris achieved as our state's U.S. Attorney, and they're telling Chris that he can provide the leadership and make the tough decisions needed to fix our broken state."

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Manzo to unveil slate next week

Jersey City mayoral candidate Lou Manzo has filled in most of his council slate and plans to start rolling out names next week.

“We will have the majority of the known candidates that are seeking office. It is so tough to find people who want to run, and out of the people who want to run I think I’m going to get the lion’s share of them,” said Manzo, a former assemblyman who’s embarking on his fifth try for the office on Grove Street.

Manzo said that finding quality council candidates has been especially difficult this year. He’s still working on recruiting Ward E Councilman Steve Fulop, who has entertained a number of offers from mayoral candidates to join their slate.

“Everybody’s still fishing for Fulop. He hasn’t made a decision yet. We’re in that race too,” said Manzo.

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Dublin may seek to keep Hudson Freeholder chairman post

Hudson County Freeholder Jeffrey Dublin is trying to hold on to his post as Freeholder Chairman, even though the board has rotated the chairmanship among members one year at a time since eight-year chairman Silverio "Sal" Vega left the board in 2006.

The board will hold its reorganization meeting tomorrow, where members will vote on who will lead it.  According to the rotation order, Vice-Chair Doreen DeDomenico is next in line.

"Being a chairman for only one year doesn't give the board any continuity at all, and it doesn't help as far as dealing with the executive branch of government, because they feel that they have to deal with different chairmen each year," said Dublin.  "Sal Vega was the chairman for eight years.  He gave continuity and respect for the board. I'm not looking to be a party basher, but just to talk and see what we can do with respect to keeping continuity for the board."

Dublin said that he plans to meet with his supporters today, followed by a meeting with DeDomenico.

"I'll be making my decision later on today on whether I'm going to move forward or just support the rotation," said Dublin.

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Don't conclude all candidates are accounted for in the 25th, says Randolph councilman

Morris County political insiders say the race for the vacated assembly seat in District 25 will come down to Tony Bucco and Morris County Freeholder Doug Cabana, both of Boonton Township. 

Bucco, son of state Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-Morris), officially entered the race late last year, and his brother-in-law, Cabana, is set to kick-off his own campaign on Jan. 13th. 

But Randolph Councilman Gary Algeier, who three years ago pursued an unsucessful run for freeholder, says don’t count him out of the assembly contest. 

“A lot of people have asked me but I haven’t made a decision yet,” he told “At the moment, I’m keeping my options open. With Rick Merkt stepping down, it opens a lot of possibilities.”

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Barrett to get sworn in tomorrow as new Middlesex County Freeholder

As expected, the Middlesex County Democratic Organization on Sunday picked South Brunswick Councilwoman Carol Barrett to succeed the late David B. Crabiel as county freeholder, according to party chairman Joe Spicuzzo. 

“We had 611 people from the county committee who voted,” said Spicuzzo. “Carol Barrett won with 58 percent of the vote.” 

Barrett defeated former Edison Councilman Charles Tomaro and Amy Papi of East Brunswick. She is scheduled to take the oath of office tomorrow at the freeholders’ reorganization meeting at Middlesex County College.

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Doherty touts two Hunterdon County endorsements

Doherty touts two Hunterdon County endorsements
Raritan Twp. Mayor Richard O'Malley, on the occasion of his being sworn in Friday.

Two mayors from Assemblywoman Marcia Karrow’s (R-Raritan) native Hunterdon County have endorsed her rival, Assemblyman Mike Doherty (R-Washington Twp), for the state senate seat being vacated by Congressman-elect Leonard Lance (R-Clinton).

Newly sworn-in Raritan Township Mayor Richard O’Malley and Bloomsbury Mayor Mark Peck both cited Doherty’s conservative credentials as the reason for their decisions to endorse him over Karrow.

“Mike Doherty is a Reagan conservative who always stands up for our values in Trenton. Whenever I need help as a Mayor, I know that I can count on Mike to respond immediately and in an effective manner,” said Peck.

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Merkt fights perceived Christie canonization in Passaic County

BRIDGEWATER – If he runs statewide, it’s unlikely Chris Christie will resemble Andy Unanue as a candidate. 

But on learning that Passaic County Republican Chairman Scott Rumana tried to recruit Christie confidante Bill Palatucci to address municipal chairmen last week, Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham) feared the abrogation of process and quickly drew an analogy. 

“It’s exactly the Unanue fiasco I want to avoid in the election,” said Merkt, himself a declared GOP candidate for governor. “I don’t want a (state Republican Party Chairman) Tom Wilson candidate to drive away other candidates.” 

An unknown, wealthy Latino businessman who was backed by the upper echelons of his party in a U.S. Senate bid, Unanue last year began sealing county committee support in absentia, effectively making other Republican primary candidates like state Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R-Morris) feel helpless – at least until Unanue’s campaign imploded.

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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


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